Organised labour has warned that its response to the proposed increase in the pump price of petrol to N340 next year, following the removal of subsidy on the product, would be spontaneous.
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had after its organs’ meetings recently threatened to shut down activities nationwide should the Federal Government increase the pump price of petrol in 2022.
Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Bashir Alade Lawal, in an interview with Daily Sun, yesterday, vowed that the threat by labour would be enforced saying it would be detrimental to the overall well-being of citizens to allow the government have its way on the policy.
He said an increase in pump price of petrol would exacerbate crime as petrol was like an exchange rate which affected every facet of life in the country.
“Our response to the proposed fuel price increase? It should be spontaneous. We would not play to the gallery. We are already down and they want to add to the problem. Nobody is going to run out of the country. We are all going to be here to see the consequences of what they are planning,” he said.
Lawal said labour does not believe in the government’s planned palliative of N5,000 to 40 million Nigerians to cushion the effect of the planned increase in price of petrol.
“They are not going to give anybody anything. I can say it with every sense of responsibility. The last one they did, they set up a palliative committee in which I was a member. Initially, what they told us was that there was N600 billion palliatives fund in the kitty which we are going to appropriate to different sectors of the economy to cushion the effect of COVID-19.
“Our own memo, that is TUC, was about 50 something pages, while NLC was higher. The two of us met to harmonise it. After our second meeting at Bolton Hotel in Abuja, I stopped going for the meeting because I was dumbfounded when the NNPC man said nobody promised anything. Till now, nothing has come out of it. They are just deceiving us with lies. They won’t give anybody any N5,000.”
The labour leader said measures ought to have been on ground and running for at least one year before the government could come up with this policy, so that the effect would not negatively affact citizens.
“But here, we don’t have anything like that. You see, it’s a normal thing to subsidise things because it happens globally. But now they have removed almost everything. So at the end of the day almost 70 per cent of the resources of the state that should have gone to all these areas, they now appropriate it to themselves. With that, they have more than enough to share and that is why they are misbehaving and people are suffering.”
NLC at its meetings in Abuja penultimate Friday had scheduled a nationwide protest for January 27 and February 1, but with a clause that it would not wait till then should the announcement on fuel price hike come before the scheduled dates.
The NLC charged the government to promote local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use.