The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that it has started mobilising its relevant organs, civil society groups, organisations and professional bodies against plans by the Federal Government to revert the pump price of petrol from N87 to N97 from next year.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, who made the plea while speaking at the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of foremost labour leader, Comrade Chima Ubani, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to resist any pressure to remove fuel subsidy which will lead to the increment of the price of fuel.
You will recall that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, while defending his ministry’s projections as contained in the 2016 to 2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper before the Joint Senate/House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, stated that the government might change the price of petrol as well as adopt a strategy of gradual removal of subsidy.
The NLC president said: “At the Senate, the Minister of State on Petroleum Resources talked about ‘gradual removal strategy’, which, he said, would begin with the return to the pump price of N97 per litre from the current N87.
“Mr. Kachikwu threatened of the possibility of the Buhari government considering total withdrawal of fuel subsidy. According to him, ‘the government doesn’t need to fund subsidy’.
“The NLC wishes to state without equivocation that Kachikwu represents the same forces that have misled past government on the issue of removal of subsidy and deregulation of the downstream operations of the petroleum industry.
“While the position of congress on these issues clearly remains unchanged, we make bold to however caution President Buhari to be wary of the likes of Kachikwu, whose sweet tongues on the issue of subsidy removal had derailed former Presidents from achieving their lofty goals.
“Now that the Buhari government may have, through Kachikwu, sent the message to Nigerians on the path it wishes to take on the issue of petroleum subsidy, congress will meet its relevant organs, hold consultations with civil society and other organisations and professional bodies and carry out the instruction as we will be mandated.”