Organised labour has called on the Federal Government to immediately take actions to bring to an end the unapproved hike in petrol, which now sells as high as N240 per litre, and fuel shortages being witnessed in the country. A statement jointly signed by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba and President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo on Friday in Abuja, also accused players in the downstream sector to have deliberately orchestrated the shortages with the aim of hiking the price. While insisting that the government does not have any excuse in failing to address the crippling pains Nigerians were being subjected to, they noted that organised labour was seriously bewildered and disturbed by the persistent shortage and uncontrollable prices that players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry were meting out to Nigerians, who were already suffering beyond measure because of government policies.
The statement reads: “The persistent shortage of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol in the country has become a source of pain to the Nigerian people. It has led not just to long avoidable queues, adulteration of the product by the unscrupulous elements, exploitation of the consumers, turning fuel stations to traffic menace. “All these have tragic consequences for the Nigerian people and debilitating effects on the health of the economy which itself is not in a good state. “We are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in other to hike the price far above the government-approved threshold. It is an added problem when non-state actors begin to arrogate to themselves the power to determine the price of a litre of fuel far above the rate pegged by the government in the current subsidy regime “The Nigerian people and taxpayers currently expense several trillions of Naira annually to subsidize petrol.
The same people cannot be exploited and made to pay over N240 per litre when the current ex-depot price is currently fixed at N l 48.19k per litre. The opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually been eroded. “No country develops when its people are subjected to perennial hardship and its industries are shackled by unnecessary chains of miseries.
“It is more disturbing that the government is equally demonstrating a high level of culpability in the unwholesome situation by its silence and unwillingness to frontally and publicly address the harrowing experiences of Nigeria in the current situation because no concerned and responsive government will bury its head in the sands like the proverbial Ostrich while the citizens are being brutally exploited. “For the records, no private individual or companies are importing a litre of PMS into this Country, all Products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government min is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the Products to the Marketers. Then who is benefiting from this racketeering? “We are strongly worried that leaving our energy security and sovereignty in the hands of unscrupulous capitalists and their collaborators will further plunge this nation into the economic abyss we are working hard to avoid.”