NLC may embark on protest against new petrol price - THE NEW DAWN ONLINE

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

NLC may embark on protest against new petrol price


Wabba
- Warns state govts against non-payment of pension

THERE are indications that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) may have started consultations with its civil society allies to protest the adoption of price modulation for petrol prices.

The Guardian learnt in Abuja that Trade Union Congress (TUC) may likely join the NLC in the planned protests.

Meanwhile a Nigerian-United States-born Professor of Economics, Izielen Agbon, said there is the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt a fresh approach to the downstream sector of the Nigerian economy.

He said: “President Buhari’s policy of building new refineries and fighting corruption need a new holistic approach.

This holistic policy must start with production cost pricing if it is to succeed. The policy must reject IMF policies on fuel price deregulation. If the FGN proceeds with the implementation of the IMF fuel price deregulation policy on January 1, 2016, fuel prices will continue to rise in response to rising NWE crude oil and petroleum product prices and the oligopolistic greed of the fuel cabal. The Nigerian masses must prepare for a year of struggles against the fuel cabal/foreign allies and IMF fuel price deregulation policy of the Federal Government.

The planned protest, it was gathered, will be perfected during the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the NLC, which is the second highest decision-making body of Congress.

Indeed, in a New Year message to Nigerian workers in Abuja yesterday, Congress President, Ayuba Wabba, said the initial reduction of 50Kobo on a litre of petrol is a gimmick to introduce deregulation policy through the back door.

He added: “What we are against is the IMF-inspired fuel price deregulation. The current 50 kobo reduction in fuel price is obviously a gimmick. The pathway of international financial institutions, which the current fuel subsidy removal act is taking will lead to increases in fuel pump price and attendant worsening of the hardships of poor working people.”

While commending the current effort at getting the refineries back on stream, NLC urged the Federal Government to be more creative towards expanding the refining capacity by building decentralized modular refineries.

Wabba added: “We are against the corrupt enrichment of a few that has gone with scams in the name of fuel subsidy. But it does not have to be taken as given that corruption in oil sector cannot be tamed. Equally, while we commend efforts at getting the present refineries capacity utilization levels increased, we call on the federal government to be more creative for us to ably expand refining capacity by building decentralized modular refineries. The State of Texas alone in the United States of America has 26 refineries with a capacity of refining 4.72 million barrels per day. As a national priority, we must work to establish without any further dragging of our feet, modern refineries that will provide 100% of our national needs.”

NLC also said its relationship with state governments may not be cordial in the New Year if the non-payment of pension at state level is not taken seriously by the governors.

“One of the legacies of the misrule of the preceding years is the incidence of irregular and non-payment of payments of our retired civil servants and senior citizens. While salaries were been owed for up to nine months, the situation of the pensioners were worse as many states were in arrears of pension payment for between 12 months or more,” it stressed.

NLC accused former state governors of allocating jumbo severance pay package to themselves knowing retired workers are not paid their entitlements.

It added: “This sorry situation is against the background of virtually all recent past and serving governors awarding themselves scandalous and end of tenure benefits while members of the legislature immorally awarding themselves outrageous retirement benefits running into hundreds of millions of Naira for serving their states, some for just a tenure of four years.”

The Guardian

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