NLC, PDP Reject Petrol Price Hike, Demand Reversal

calls on the federal government to rehabilitate the refineries and reveal the timelines for this.
Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)

Yesterday the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and the People's Democratic Party ( PDP) kicked at the latest N143.80k fuel price declared by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

They described the hike in fuel prices announced by PPPRA Wednesday as inhumane and unjustifiable.

NLC said yesterday in a statement:
"This might just be the last straw that would break the camel's back"

The congress demanded a reversal of the pump price to the old price, claiming that on the international market, crude oil prices had only marginally risen from the previous level before the downward adjustment was announced two months ago.

In the statement, the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, described the hike in the price of the fuel pump and the proposed hike of the electricity tariff as "potent threat to run millions of Nigerians under."

He called on the federal government to rehabilitate the refineries and reveal the timelines for this.

Wabba advised the PPPRA Executive Secretary, Mr Saidu Abdulkadir, on the increase in fuel prices, noting that "he did not even feign pretence that government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Nigerians from the cut-throat tendencies of neo-liberal market forces."

Wabba said:

"Nigerians would recall that the last downward review in the price of petrol was at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. The economic benefits of the so-called "downward" review were hardly enjoyed by ordinary Nigerians who were mostly indoors.

"Just as the lockdown is being eased out and as soon as the interstate travel ban was lifted, the government decided to hike the petrol price. Nigerian people and workers are forced to interpret this move as grand mischief and deceit.

"It is clear even to the blind that the crisis in our downstream petroleum sub-sector is 'self' nay government-inflicted."

The NLC attributed the downstream sector crisis to successive governments' failure to repair the country's oil refineries.

"Government simply wants to transfer the cost of its own inefficiencies to the Nigerian people. Nigerian workers say 'No' to such. There is no way Nigerians would accept a situation where we are charged international rates for a product which Nigeria is the sixth-largest producer in the world.

"The extra costs that the PPPRA wants Nigerians to pay in order to promote 'growth' and 'investment' are actually the cost of profits made by countries that we ship our crude oil to, the cost of sea freight of the refined products, the cost of demurrage at our seaports when the refined products arrive, the cost of the frequent devaluation of our national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector,"
the NLC added.

The main opposition party, for its part, described the hike as grossly unjustifiable, despite the decline in crude oil prices on the international market, saying it has further exposed the insincerity of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its government.

According to a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party noted that in guiding a fuel price rise at the time Nigerians are facing the economic and social suffering of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buhari-led administration showed a complete lack of human feelings to the plights of our people.

"Our party challenges the APC-led federal government to present to Nigerians the indices and parameters it used to determine the price increase, which obviously cannot be in tandem with the prevalent situation in the global industry.

"The actions of the APC administration have continued to confirm that the party has never been pro-poor but only relishes in imposing hardship and heavy taxes on already impoverished Nigerians, while running an over-bloated government through which resources meant for the welfare of Nigerians are frittered by corrupt officials and the cabal in the presidency,"
PDP stated.

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