The Nigeria Labour Congress has said Nigerians will not be able to take another fuel price increase in view of the harsh economic situation in the country, Punch reports. NLC said the decision of the government to hike the price of fuel has caused hardship in the land.
While speaking on telephone on Sunday, the General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said the government should review its policy on subsidy that led to the increase in the fuel pump price from N97 to N145 per litre last year.
Ozo-Eson was reacting to reports that the landing cost of petroleum had increased from N140.40 to N145, the same amount with the current fuel pump price in the country.
He stated, “I do not think that at this time, and given all that we have seen, that Nigerians can be subjected to another round of price increase now. That is why government needs to revisit and rethink its policy. Nigerians cannot take another round of price increase.”
He said, “The policy that is being pursued is not one that can grant you stability in price. When they raised the price to N145, we said so; that with time, given an import-dependent regime, for such a policy, the value of the Naira will be severely weakened.
“We actually remember saying then that before the end of the year, the Naira will be close to N500 to a dollar and it has come to happen. If you translate the current value of the Naira through the template, you are going to find that the landing price would be higher.
“The burden is on the government. That is where the issue of policy comes in. It is government policy that led to the price going to N145. Given the realities on the ground, now the government needs to revisit its own policy.”
When asked what the NLC would do if the fuel price is increased again, he said, “That is not for me to say. It is not an individual who makes such pronouncements. Whatever develops, we may also engage it and decisions would be taken and communicated to Nigerians.”
Also, the President of Trade Union Congress, Mr. Bala Kaigama, said the labour unions were members of the board of the PPPRA and were not aware of the planned increase.
“TUC, NLC and all the unions in the oil and gas industry are members of the governing board of the PPPRA. So, no increase can be done without our knowledge and we are not aware of such move,” he said.