NLC Set for Nationwide Strike Over Hike in Fuel Price

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Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) is set for a nationwide strike over hike in fuel price. The hike came barely 24 hours after the ease of interstate lockdown. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the increase in the price of petrol from N123.50 to N143.80 per litre, vowing to resist its implementation. Nigeria is not yet out of the pandemic that made the FG reduce the pump price from N125 to N123.50 about two months ago.

Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has insisted that the hike was done in line with prevailing market realities.

The NLC, in a statement issued by its president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said Nigerians have suffered to pay these unjust costs of petrol hike for years, and this latest increase might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back. It can’t be tolerated.

Wabba said, “this new hike in the pump price of petrol was announced without the approval of the board of the PPPRA and the oversight ministry speaks volume of the arbitrariness and public contempt in the operations of PPPRA. We find this deeply disturbing.

“There is no way Nigerians would accept a situation where we are charged international rates for a product which Nigeria is the sixth-largest producer in the world.”

But reacting to the labour’s position and the threat to go on strike, the spokesman of PPPRA, Kimchi Apollo, told newsmen on Friday that the agency did not take the decision unilaterally.

He said, “We took into consideration the various factors affecting the market as well as trying to ensure that petroleum products marketers do not exploit consumers.

“People must remember that when we started this thing in March we told the country that we are not going to do price-fixing but give a guide by offering price range. That is what we have done.

“In reaching our decision we took into account various factors affecting the market. Most people talk about us (Nigeria) producing crude oil and most times think the downstream market has to do with our production of crude oil, but they fail to realise that we import petrol into this market and that involves a lot of factors. You need to understand too that we buy at the prevailing market price.

“We did what we did as an agency of government charged with the responsibility of managing product price so that operators do not take advantage of consumers.

“If we say we no longer want the petrol subsidy then we must work with the market reality. If we compel the government to reduce the price, then the government will have no option but to pay the subsidy.