February 25, 2024

Nigeria’s organised union hails suspension of petrol subsidy removal by Buhari’s administration

 

Oredola Adeola

The Nigeria’s Organised Union has hailed the National Executive Council (NEC) and the outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari, for the decision to suspend the planned removal of fuel subsidy, describing it as the “best option”.

 

Mr Benson Upah, Head of Information, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) made this known while reacting to the recent suspension of the subsidy removal by the NEC on Thursday.

 

EnergyDay had in a report published on Thursday after the Valedictory National Economic Council Meeting at the Statehouse, Abuja, announced the planned removal of subsidy on petrol, passing the responsibility on to the incoming Bola Tinubu’s administration.

 

Upah in his remark expressed excitement for what he described as the right thing by the government.

 

He said, “Because the path they wanted to toe to the detriment of the ordinary Nigerians would have set the country on fire.

 

“There would have been an instantaneous reaction. Of course, we would have been glad to coordinate those reactions.

 

“But happily, they have seen the light. Our advice would be that they should take a lesson from the document we gave them on the so-called fuel subsidy removal.

 

The answer cannot be far from domestic production,’’ he said.

 

He said the decision would enable all the corruption building into the system to be minimised.

 

Upah, therefore, called on the Federal Government to fix the existing refineries or build new ones, instead of importing refined petroleum products.

 

Mr Nuhu Toro, Secretary General, Trade Union Congress (TUC) on his part said that the Federal Government’s decision to suspend fuel subsidy removal was a good move.

 

“Though it’s coming late  the Federal government’s decision to suspend the move to remove fuel subsidy has alluded to the fact that such harsh economic policy ought to have been a product of social dialogue which was not done.

 

“We told Nigerians earlier on that the policy is ill-timed and is not acceptable. So it is good that the government has done a U-turn because the policy cannot be forced down our throat, ‘’he said.

 

Toro said that it was good that the government had to rethink its decision on the removal of fuel subsidy.

 

He also added that refurbishing the existing refineries and production of petroleum products in our country is in the best interest of the country because of the huge advantages.

 

“First, it would create jobs, make the petroleum products available for consumption and probably reduce the price of the products. It will also guarantee foreign direct investment and make Nigeria a better place.

 

“We are confused that our refineries are not working and we have asked over time, why are the refineries not working.

 

“So there is a strong need for a deliberate effort by the incoming government to ensure that our refineries work.

 

“All the monies they claim goes to the process of deregulation can actually be utilised to make our refineries functiona,’’he said.

 

He added that the decision to revise that policy had further vindicated Nigerians as this was the right thing.

 

He, however, charged the incoming government that the instrumentality of social dialogue should be leveraged upon issues that affect the general project of Nigeria, adding that the voice and interest of Nigerians could be accommodated.

 

“Policies should not just be drafted overnight and pushed through people’s throats. Nigeria belongs to all of us.

 

Toro emphasised that the organised labour is a critical stakeholder in the country and must be involved in the decision-making and implementation of the policy.