The Nigeria Labour Congres and the Trade Union Congress have described as unacceptable the lingering scarcity of petrol across the country and the unapproved price hike above N240 a litre in the country.
They urged the government to find an immediate solution to the shortage before things get out of hand.
In a joint statement by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the Organised Labour said that no excuse was good enough for the shortage because no private individual or company was importing a litre of PMS into this Country.
They argued that all products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government that is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the products to the marketers.
In the statement signed by the President of NLC and TUC, Ayuba Wabba, and Festus Osifo, respectively and titled “Fuel shortages, price hike and avoidable long queues in filling stations are unacceptable and no longer tolerable”, said they are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in order to hike the price far above the government approved threshold.
The statement read “The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are seriously bewildered and disturbed by the persistent shortage and uncontrollable prices that players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry are meting out to Nigerians.
“The persistent shortages of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol in the country has become a source of pain to the Nigerian people. It has led not just to long avoidable queues but adulteration of the product by unscrupulous elements; exploitation of the consumers, and turning fuel stations into traffic menace.
“All these have tragic consequences for the Nigerian people and debilitating effects on the health of the economy which itself is not in a good state. We are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in order to hike the price far above the government-approved threshold. It is an added problem when non-state actors begin to arrogate to themselves the power to determine the price of a litre of fuel far above the rate pegged by the government in the current subsidy regime
“The Nigerian people and taxpayers currently expense several trillions of Naira annually to subsidize petrol. The same people cannot be exploited and made to pay over N240 per litre when the current ex-depot price is currently fixed at N148.19k per litre. The opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually being eroded.
“No country develops when its people are subjected to perennial hardship and its industries are shackled by unnecessary chains of miseries.
“It is more disturbing that the government is equally demonstrating a high level of culpability in the unwholesome situation by its silence and unwillingness to frontally and publicly address the harrowing experiences of Nigeria in the current situation because no concerned and responsive government will bury its head in the sands like the proverbial Ostrich while the citizens are being brutally exploited.
“For the records, no private individual or companies are importing a litre of PMS into this country, all products are imported by the government and there is no record whatsoever that the agency of government that is importing the products has added a kobo to the price it sells the products to the marketers.
“We are strongly worried that leaving our energy security and sovereignty in the hands of unscrupulous capitalists and their collaborators will further plunge this nation into the economic abyss we are working hard to avoid.
“The labour centres, therefore, demand of the Federal Government an end to the avoidable, unnecessary, crippling and pain-inducing fuel shortages and unapproved price hike of up to N24O in the country. No excuse is good enough to cripple the country. If there are challenges, they should be fixed; we have a government in power to fix challenges not to make excuses.
“Organised Labour is ready and willing to engage the Federal Government and assist in all ways possible to overcome the country’s present challenges. But we caution it not to take either the Labour Movement or the Nigerian people for granted as it seems to be manifestly doing on various crucial national issues.
Regulatory and law enforcement agencies should do more to protect the larger Nigeria society from exploitation.”