Subsidy Removal: NLC fixes February 1, 2022 for national protests
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has announced it will hold a national protest on February 1, next year, against Federal Government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy in 2022.
It said that before the major protest, there would be rallies in 26 states of the federation on January 27th aimed at the same objective.
This was contained in a communique issued by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday in Abuja, and signed by NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, and General Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja, after the NEC meeting.
The Congress warned that removing fuel subsidies would have negative economic effects for Nigerian workers and could lead to hyperinflation.
Part of the communique reads, “The NEC, therefore, resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government, as it is extremely insensitive to the acute hardship being experienced by Nigerian workers and people.
”Pursuant to its rejection and resistance of further increase in the price of petrol, to organise protest rallies in all the 36 States of the Federation on Jan. 27, 2022.
“This would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 State Governors. Subsequently, a National Protest will take place on Feb. 1, 2022, in Abuja.
“In case government decides to announce new petrol prices before the proposed protests, the protest will kick-off instantly and without any other further notice in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
NLC added that to boost local refining capacity, the FG needs to adopt effective economic policies to halt the trend of hyper-inflation in the prices of basic goods and services especially essential commodities, cooking gas and building materials, warning that inflation has not only affected the local worker but has scared of foreign investors.
“Such plans will only exacerbate the prevailing hyper-inflation of essential goods especially food consumables, lead to decline in sales, job losses in the food sub-sector and increased hardship for ordinary Nigerians.
”Plans for the privatisation of Nigeria’s railways, public healthcare facilities and concession of Nigeria’s major international airports.
”The NEC, therefore, resolved that the executive arm of government at the federal level and the National Assembly should work together with Organized Labour and manufacturers in the sub-sector for a win-win solution.
”The NEC urges government and promoters of the privatisation and concession plans to learn from the misadventure of the power sector privatisation which instead of improving the lives of the ordinary Nigerian have increased the level of suffering and hardship faced by the Nigerian masses,” it added.
It would be recalled that Zainab Ahmed, the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning had earlier stated that Federal Government has plans to remove fuel subsidy in 2022 ; and that part of the revenue that would be saved from subsidy removal will be used to service millions of households via the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.
Also, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, had stated that Nigeria was losing N250 billion monthly on petrol subsidies and that state governors are committed to supporting the Federal Government in ending the fuel subsidy regime.
In addition, Malam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, added that the price of the product may range between N320 and N340 per litre after subsidy removal by 2022.
The World Bank also stated that Nigeria spends $4.5 billion on fuel subsidies, indicative of 2% of GDP or 35% of oil and gas revenue. The global financial institution said Nigeria’s PMS subsidy imposes a massive and unsustainable fiscal burden.
The cost of the PMS subsidy in 2020 rose from just 4 percent of the oil and gas revenues that are first transferred to the NNPC (US$0.3 billion) to a staggering 35% in 2021 (US$4.5 billion or roughly 2 percent of GDP) and that Nigeria’s average daily oil production fell from 2.0 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019 to 1.8 million bpd in 2020 and less than 1.6 million bpd in the first nine months of 2021, its lowest level in two decades.