The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the proposed N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians when the subsidy on Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) is removed.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said that there are no ongoing talks between labour and the Federal Government, as negotiation was adjourned sine die many months ago.
NLC accused the government of adopting monologue in arriving at its conclusion on subsidy removal, stressing that it will continually reject deregulation that is anchored on the importation of petroleum products.
It also said the constant devaluation of the Naira wouldn’t guarantee a realistic pump price of petrol.
“This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the naira, which currently goes for N560 to 1US$ in the parallel market. Thus, any attempt to compare the price of petrol in Nigeria to other countries would be set on a faulty premise as it would be akin to comparing apples to mangoes,” it stated.
It submitted that the contemplation by the government to increase the price of petrol by more than 200 per cent is a perfect recipe for an aggravated pile of hyper-inflation and astronomical increase in the price of goods and services, saying this will open a wide door to unintended social consequences such as degeneration of the current insecurity crises and possibly citizens’ revolt.
The congress described as ‘nonsensical’ the argument that the complete surrender of the price of petrol to market forces would normalise the curve of demand and supply as it is being wrongly attributed to the current market realities with cooking gas, diesel and kerosene is very obtuse.
It, therefore, warned that the bait by the government to pay 40 million Nigerians N5,000 as a palliative to cushion the effect of the astronomical increase in the price of petrol, is comical. It urged the government to establish empirical data on the number of refined petroleum products consumed daily by Nigerians.
But the Federal Government reiterated, yesterday, that its transport subsidy payment of N5,000 to the vulnerable would be transferred digitally for a minimum period of six months and a maximum of 12 months. This, the government noted, would happen after the removal of fuel subsidy in June 2022 to give people time to adjust.
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, said this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said that as at the last Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, fuel subsidy costs the country nearly N250 billion per month and N3 trillion yearly as the NNPC remits near-zero naira.
This, she said, this has made the removal expedient. The support fund upon approval from FAAC for 20 to 40 million Nigerians will not be done in cash. She further encouraged states to financially contribute to the N5,000 relief fund to improve the productive abilities of Nigerians.