By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has accused the federal government of reneging on the agreement reached with the organised labour a few weeks ago with regards to the hike in electricity tariff and pump price of petrol.
A statement jointly signed by the TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the Congress said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) instructed the new increase and not Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA) as required by law.
“From all indications, government has again reneged on agreement reached with the organised labour a few weeks ago. In a few days, the various committees involving government and the organised labour will brief labour and civil society and the outcome of that meeting will determine our next line of action,” it said.
TUC said it was surprised that despite the efforts made by the organised labour in the last meeting with the federal government on the hike in fuel price and electricity tariff, the latter has resolved to further impoverish Nigerians with the recent increase.
“This is one increase too many. Indeed, a violation of all understandings we have had with government.
“We recall that at our meeting, government appealed that subsidy removal was the only way out, else the economy will collapse and there would be massive job losses. We agreed with them to save the economy and the jobs.
“If the government claims to have ‘deregulated’ the downstream sector of the oil and gas (which of course is subsidy removal), it therefore means the independent oil marketers are importing petrol at their own cost. Information at our disposal, however, is that no independent marketer is importing fuel, because they cannot access dollars. The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporations (NNPC) is still holding on to that monopoly.
“To make matters worse, it is the NNPC that instructed the new increase and not Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA). What a regime of contradictions! NNPC has become a behemoth.”