From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has advised the Federal Government to seek means of achieving a transparent subsidy process rather than causing citizens untold hardship by completely removing it.
It also described the continuous importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as a “forced policy” on Nigeria.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, stated these in Abuja during an interview with journalists on the sideline of the 48th National Executive Council meeting of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN).
Ayuba called on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure the amount agreed on in the consolidated health salary structure is captured in the 2022 budget to avoid another round of industrial action in the health sector next year.
He warned political leaders about neglecting good governance in preparation for the 2023 general elections and called on Nigerians to be ready to fully mobilise and vehemently reject Federal Government’s unfriendly policies by all means if they are implemented in 2022 as proposed.
“NLC has remained very consistent in its position about the issue of what we call subsidy. The position of NLC is that Nigeria has no reason to continue to import refined products for domestic use particularly PMS because we’ve also found out that we are the only member country of OPEC that is doing that.
“It’s an imposed policy on Nigeria, and our leaders must find a way and means to actually get us out of that imposition. We have made this point very clear that because of the devalued value of our currency, it then means that the policy of importation will continue to have a negative impact on consumers.
“We have seen that with kerosene, we have seen that also with diesel which our government has claimed that they’ve been fully deregulated, but the price has never been at the reach of ordinary Nigerians. Even the cooking gas, people are now using firewood.
“So, the position of NLC remains very consistent that we’ll be against any policy of removing subsidies in the name of deregulation if it is based on importation. And we’ve said so that we export our jobs, and yet our refineries remain under lock and key. It’s a patriotic position that many Nigerians have supported,” the labour leader said.
Wabba also disclosed that the Labour movement would converge tomorrow to review many pronouncements made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on fuel subsidy.
He also warned the government not to transfer its inefficiency to the Nigerian people by inflicting more pains on the masses in 2022, saying N5,000 palliative policy is not sustainable.