The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says President Muhammadu Buhari would have set the country on fire had his regime carried out its decision to remove fuel subsidy.
“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,” stated Benson Upah, a spokesman for the NLC, while reacting to the recent suspension of the subsidy removal by the regime on Thursday in Abuja.
“Our advice would be that they should take a lesson from the document we gave them on the so-called fuel subsidy removal,” added the NLC official. “The answer cannot be far from domestic production.”
The National Economic Council (NEC) had planned to remove the fuel subsidy.
Mr Upah called on the Nigerian government to fix the existing refineries or build new ones instead of importing refined petroleum products.
Nuhu Toro, secretary general of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), said, “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.”
Mr Toro said it was good that the government had to rethink its decision on the removal of fuel subsidy and recommended refurbishing existing refineries to locally produce petroleum products in the country.
“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,” the TUC secretary general explained.
He, however, expressed frustration about the country’s refineries.
“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,” said Mr Toro.
He added, “All the monies they claim go to the process of deregulation can actually be utilised to make our refineries functional.”
Mr Toro stressed that the decision to revise the planned fuel subsidy removal vindicated Nigerians and urged the incoming government to leverage social dialogue regarding issues affecting the populace.
“Policies should not just be drafted overnight and pushed through people’s throats. Nigeria belongs to all of us,” the TUC secretary general pointed out. “We are all critical stakeholders and must be part of the decision-making and implementation body to ensure that our country moves forward.”
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