The Nigeria Labour Congress has warned the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government against plans to remove the fuel subsidy in 2022, saying the action will be met with massive nationwide protests.
The congress said the planned rallies would commence without warning should the Federal Government announce new fuel prices ahead of scheduled protest rallies in all the states of the federation.
The protest is slated for January 27, 2022, and would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 state governors.
Subsequently, the NLC said a national protest would also hold in Abuja on February 1.
These were part of the resolutions of the National Executive Council meeting of the NLC which was held at the Labour House, Abuja, on Friday.
The Federal Government had said it would remove the fuel subsidy next year following advice by the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.
In its place, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said about 40 million poor Nigerians would be paid a N5,000 monthly stipend for transportation.
But rising from its NEC meeting, the NLC argued that the decision would expose Nigerian workers and the generality of the citizenry to acute deprivation, hardship and suffering as it would worsen the already established trend of hyperinflation in the country.
It attributed the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub-sector, especially as it relates to the petrol pump price regime to the policy of importation based on a pricing template for refined petroleum products as against local production-based pricing template.
The union submitted that the price of petrol and other refined petroleum products would continue to rise beyond the reach of average Nigerian workers and citizens as long as the pricing of refined petroleum products is based on importation pricing template which is heavily dependent on a volatile foreign exchange rate heavily skewed against the naira.
The NEC, therefore, condemned plans by the Federal Government to increase the pump price of petrol.
The communique signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, read, “The NEC, therefore, resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government as it described it as extremely insensitive to the acute hardship being experienced by Nigerian workers and people;
“That government should promote local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use;
“Pursuant to its rejection and resistance of further increase in the price of petrol, to organize protest rallies in all the 36 states of the federation on January 27, 2022 which would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 state governors.
“Subsequently, a national protest will take place on February 1, 2022 in Abuja; and in case government decides to announce new petrol prices before the proposed protests, the protest will kick off instantly and without any other further notice in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.”