Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in a press release on Friday stated that Nigerians have never had it so bad following a regime of harsh economic policies being imposed on them by the Buhari administration.
NLC in the release entitled; “The Nigeria Labour Congress Condemns and Rejects the Daily, Arbitrary, Unjust and Insensitive Increases in the Price of Petrol (Premium Motor Spirit),” and signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said it is “disheartening that despite the gale of opposition by labour and Nigerians to the previous hike in the price of petrol, government went ahead to add scorpion to the scourges on the back of Nigerians.”
Describing the increment as “a whole new level of government insincerity and insensitivity,” Comrade Wabba also added that the latest increase is “a crass display of complete apathy to the sufferings Nigerians are going through at this time.”
He pointed out that as against the practice in other countries that are, as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, reducing taxes, increasing welfare benefits and providing palliatives to their citizens, the Buhari government is engaged in the contrary by reducing interest rates on savings by the poor, increasing taxes and hiking tariffs on essential goods and services.
Comrade Wabba lamented that “while poor Nigerians are being pilloried by the government of the day with obscene fiscal burdens, those connected to the highest echelons of political power are daily amassing public wealth and rubbing their illicit loot on our faces.”
The NLC maintained that it will never accept the transfer of government incompetence on Nigerians through hike in the pump price of petrol. Government incompetence, it noted, is the inability to maintain and efficiently run public refineries thereby compelling government to “resort to the unscrupulous economics of fuel importation.”
Wabba stated: “At the risk of shouting ourselves hoarse, we reiterate that the increase in the pump price of petrol is simply the cost of profits made by countries that have enough sense to maintain refineries that refine our crude oil, the cost of sea freight of refined petrol, the cost of demurrage at our seaports when the refined products arrive, the cost of frequent devaluation of our national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector. Nigerians have groaned to pay these unjust costs for years. This latest increase will be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.
“We demand that the Federal Government reverts to the old price of N121 given during the lockdown associated with Covid-19 pandemic which Nigerians who were mainly confined in their houses hardly enjoyed. We also renew our call for a national conversation on the management of our oil assets which we insist must be in tandem with the provisions our country’s constitution which clearly mandates that the commanding heights of our national economy must be held by the government in the interest of the citizens of Nigeria. Finally, we demand that our four national petroleum refineries must be fixed without any further delay. Nigerian workers want to be appraised of the timeline set by government to ensure that this is effectively done.
“Nigeria belongs to all of us. Workers are major stakeholders in the Nigerian project. Nigerian workers and people must not only be treated fairly but must be seen to have been so treated by their government.”