Fuel Price Hike: Labour Lists Buhari’s Many “Sins”, Spoils for War
The President Mohammed Buhari’s led Federal Government of Nigeria may have succeeded in reining oppositions against its last week increase in fuel pump price from N86.50 to N145 per litre, even as the organized Labour may not be able to mobilize enough support to fight the increment which has started taken its toll on Nigerians.
While the Comrade Joe Ajaero’s led faction of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)has condemned the new fuel pump price regime, listing the many “sins” of President Buhari against the masses in less than one year in office, the Comrade Aliyu Wabba faction has made no official statement, with the excuse that its National Executive Council (NEC) is yet to meet.
In a show of brevity, Senator Dino Melaye of APC has urged the President Buhari and the party authority to reverse the decision with a 7-day ultimatum.
According to him, “This is not what we promised Nigerians. The time is not right and the negative effects will be unbearable. A word is enough for the wise”, while the NLC has vowed to resist the increase having called on their affiliates and state councils to mobilize resistance if the government fails to reverse the “Unholy Hike”.
In a press statement, a copy of which was given to MMS Plus, Ajaero’s NLC described the new petrol price increase by about 67.63 per cent as ‘callous’, coming at “the heels of recent assurances by the Minister that the government is not in any way planning to increase the price of petroleum products.”
The press release titled: The Petroleum Price Hike: multiplying poverty in Nigeria”, noted that since Buhari came into office electricity tariff has gone up by about 45 per cent “and went ahead to implement it despite court ruling to the contrary; it has allowed the exchange rate to deteriorate to N325 to the US Dollar; has introduced stamp duty on deposit in Banks and has pronounced a 100 per cent increase in VAT, has banned the importation of ‘I better pass my neighbor’ generators which serves mainly the poor. We are truly witnessing a government that is totally wired against the poor, whether they are workers or not.
“We do not understand why a government will chose to deceive her citizens. We do not understand why a government will chose not to consult deeply with all stakeholders in the country before embarking on such a far-reaching decision that has deep and serious consequences on the lives and living of the people”, NLC added.
They said they had set the conditions for full deregulation of the sector which will allow the price of products to be determined freely by market imperatives, adding, “we all agreed with the government that the pathway to this is for the refineries to come on stream so that domestic consumption will be satisfied internally and importation of products stopped completely. This we believe will allow Nigerians pay a more realistic and reasonable price for the product and assist the nation maintain most of its macro-economic variables in a positive way.
The Labour Congress asked rhetorically, “why has the government found it very difficult to refurbish the existing refineries and bring them to full capacity or build new refineries to make us self-sufficient in petroleum products? Simple! It creates opportunities for the ruling elite to continue to extort from hapless citizens”.