NLC rejects planned fuel price hike, announces date for nationwide protests

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has fixed January 27 and February 1, 2022 for a nationwide protest against the Federal Government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy and increase the pump price of petrol.

The Union however added that should the proposed price hike in the pump price of petrol take effect before the date scheduled for the protest, the congress would immediately mobilise members to shut down services without delay.

The union said that the government should rather promote local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use rather than importation.

These were contained in a communique signed by the president and general secretary of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, issued at the end of its Central Working Committee (CWC)/National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Friday in Abuja.

According to NLC, any further increase in petrol would “expose Nigerian workers and the generality of the citizenry to acute deprivation, hardship and suffering as it would worsen the already established trend of hyper-inflation in the country.”

“That the genesis of the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub-sector especially as it relates to the petrol pump price regime could be linked to a policy of Importation Based Pricing Template for Refined Petroleum Products as against Local Production Based Pricing Template.”

“That as long as the pricing of refined petroleum products is based on Importation Pricing Template which is heavily dependent on a volatile foreign exchange rate heavily skewed against the Naira, the price of petrol and other refined petroleum products will continue to rise beyond the reach of average Nigerian workers and citizens.”

“That the foregoing informed the traditional position of the congress to reject incessant increase in the pump price of petrol which is usually disguised as deregulation or removal of fuel subsidy. The NEC, therefore, condemned plans by the Federal Government to increase the pump price of petrol.”

“The NEC, therefore, resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government as it described it as extremely insensitive to the acute hardship being experienced by Nigerian workers and people; that Government should promote local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use.”

“Pursuant to its rejection and resistance of further increase in the price of petrol, to organize Protest Rallies in all the 36 States of the Federation on 27th January 2022 which would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 State Governors. Subsequently, a National Protest will take place on 1st February 2022 in Abuja.”

“In case government decides to announce new petrol prices before the proposed protests, the protest will kick off instantly and without any other further notice in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.”

Raising concerns over the soaring Inflation of basic commodities and services, the NEC advised government to adopt effective economic policies to halt the inflationary trend as it presents additional pressure on the lean income of Nigerian workers and other citizens and has made life terribly unbearable for the poor masses of our country.

Meanwhile, less than 48 hours for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign or not to sign the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law, the NLC has urged the president to give heed to the demands of the citizenry for an electoral reform and sign the Bill into law.

The Union said, it considers the provisions in the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill especially the provisions for electronic voting and direct political party primaries, as progressive and capable of delivering inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Nigeria.

The Union said, “The current push for broader electoral reform especially with respect to recent demands by the Congress for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law the 2021 Electoral Act Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly.”

“To call for even broader and deeper electoral reform including the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission, the democratization of the appointment of the national leadership of the INEC, the adoption of Proportional Representation in our laws and Diaspora Voting.”

While rejecting the concession of Nigeria’s four major airports and the privatization of Nigeria’s prime national assets including the Transmission Company of Nigeria, NEC urged the executive arm of government at the federal level and the National Assembly to partner with Organized Labour and manufacturers in the sub-sector for a win-win solution.

On the worsening state of insecurity in the country, NEC resolved that the Federal Government “should consider the recommendations and policy initiatives gleaned from the NLC National Summit on Peace and Security and National Roundtable on Social Protection Cover in developing a National Plan of Action against Insecurity in Nigeria; and

“The Federal Government should adopt a multi-stakeholder approach and innovative non-kinetic intervention model towards a achieving a sustainable solution to the crises of insecurity in Nigeria.”

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