Fuel price increase, crass display of apathy to suffering Nigerians – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the latest increase in the price of petrol was a crass display of complete apathy to the sufferings Nigerians are going through at this time.

Recall that the federal government on Wednesday through the Petroleum Pricing Marketing Company (PPMC) increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N138 to NN151.56 per litre, triggering marketers to increase pump price from N148 to N162 per litre.

However, the NLC in a statement on Friday rejected the new upward reviewed pricing band for the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol, demanding revert to the N121 old price at which petrol was sold during the lockdown to control COVID -19.

The statement said: “It is disheartening that despite the gale of opposition by labour and Nigerians to the previous hike in the price of petrol, the government went ahead to add scorpion to the scourges on the back of Nigerians. This is indeed a whole new level of government insincerity and insensitivity.

“It is sad that while poor Nigerians are being pilloried by the government of the day with obscene fiscal burdens, those connected to the highest echelons of political power are daily amassing public wealth and rubbing their illicit loot on our faces. Hobbesian state of living appears to be the perfect metaphor for the state of affair today in Nigeria.

“As we have always maintained, the Nigeria Labour Congress will never accept the transfer of government incompetence on Nigerians through hike in the pump price of petrol. The incompetence of government in this regard is particularly manifest by the rundown of our public refineries and resort to the unscrupulous economics of fuel importation.

According to NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the increase in the pump price of petrol is simply the cost of profits made by countries that have enough sense to maintain refineries that refine our crude oil, the cost of sea freight of refined petrol, the cost of demurrage at seaports when the refined products arrive, the cost of frequent devaluation of national currency, and the cost of official corruption by gatekeepers managing the downstream petroleum sub-sector.

“Nigerians have groaned to pay these unjust costs for years. This latest increase will be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.”

The NLC therefore urged the government to fix the four refineries without delay.

“We also renew our call for a national conversation on the management of our oil assets which we insist must be in tandem with the provisions of our country’s constitution which clearly mandates that the commanding heights of our national economy must be held by the government in the interest of the citizens of Nigeria,” the NLC said.