By Mordi Chukwunonso Esther
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has said the Federal Government betrayed the trust of the Labour, saying that the current increase was a violation of all understandings the government had with labour. The congress also declared that the organised labour has lost faith in the Nigerian Government, following the current increase in the price of fuel.
In a statement signed by the TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye and the Secretary-General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi on Tuesday, the congress said the government has again reneged on an agreement reached with the organised labour a few weeks ago.
The statement said: “The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is surprised that despite the effort made by the Organised Labour in the last meeting with the Federal Government on a 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 the 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 the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA). What a regime of contradictions. NNPC has become a behemoth.”
It added: “From all indications, the government has again reneged on an 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.”