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FG insensitive, subsidy removal to maximise profits for Dangote Refinery – HURIWA



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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Monday, carpeted the new administration of President Bola Tinubu over the abrupt and suspicious removal of fuel subsidy, saying the government is unfeeling towards the plight of the Nigerian people at a time the nation and the informal sector is just recovering from the economic crisis occasioned by the naira scarcity caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria under the immediate past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said the coincidental inauguration of the Dangote Refinery in Lagos and the removal of fuel subsidy is suspect and pointer to the fact that many government officials turned investors in the new refinery orchestrated subsidy removal to monopolise and maximise their profit in Dangote Refinery.

The group also called on the new President to probe the allegations that US$2.1 billion and N3.1 trillion public funds of oil revenues budgeted as fuel subsidy payments are missing and unaccounted for between 2016 and 2019, as documented by the Auditor-General of the Federation.

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HURIWA also knocked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) for saying the volume of petrol consumed daily in Nigeria may drop by 30 per cent after the removal of subsidy when the money budgeted for subsidy continually gets missing and the country’s estimated 66 million litres daily consumption had been contested by top economists and even the current Customs boss many times.

HURIWA further faulted the statement by the Tinubu administration to review the present N30,000 National Minimum Wage as a way to cushion the removal of subsidy on petrol, saying the review of the Minimum Wage is long overdue before the subsidy removal controversy.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The planned review of minimum wage is long overdue and not a justification for subsidy removal and fuel pump price increase because less than 2% of Nigerians are employed in the public sector with nearly 50% in the informal sector and over 26% of unemployed people in the country with others such as pensioners, the sick and lastly children and students.

READ ALSONLC absent as FG, TUC resume talks on fuel subsidy

“Aside public sector workers, most other Nigerians are seriously not captured by the public wages upgrade. So, the wage review isn’t a solution at all. Salary increase in most jurisdictions occur with changing economic trends and high costs of living and not necessarily when government arbitrarily decides to inflict economic suicide on a massive scale such as was done by the new President Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he announced the pulling out of the so-called fuel subsidy without reaching any consensus with the Organised Labour and the civil society.

“The decision of the NLC and TUC to take industrial action to force the government to return to status quo ante bellum is legal, constitutional, popular and pro-poor.

“We urge the Organised Labour to eschew selfishness and maintain their stand that concrete measures must be implemented such as repairs of public refineries, investigations of the petroleum sub-sector of the economy from 2015-2023, the probe of the subsidy claims and payments since 2015 till date and the investigation of the quantity of fuel that are consume within the Nigerian domestic market to ascertain accurate statistical data of accurate amount of fuel supply and purchases by Nigerians.

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