Fuel Subsidy: NLC Bent on Planned Strike

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has called on the Nigerian Labour Congress  NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC to put off their planned protests, against the Federal Government’s proposed removal of fuel subsidy, saying it is not necessary.

The Senate leader stated this in his welcome address, he belittled the time for the planned subsidy removal on petroleum products, stressing that although the administration and management of subsidy on petroleum products were flawed, the  Buhari led government have acknowledged that it needs sufficient planning before carrying out its planned removal.

Lawan, therefore, called on the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, to put off its planned protest across the country, as the Federal Government is not planning to remove the petroleum subsidy now.

According to him: “The position of everyone in government today is that admittedly, subsidy administration and management are flawed because of so many reasons. Admittedly, the burden is huge and massive and there is a need at one point to do away with the subsidy. Even though our economy is growing, we still have the challenge of getting things to be better for our people.

“A lot of us in this administration believe that the issue of removal of subsidy should be handled with utmost care, especially that sufficient planning needs to be done. Significant arrangements for absorbing the shocks that will come with the removal should be done, that the timing should be such that the impact and consequences will not add to hardship. We all believe in this and the President leads us in this feeling.

“What we are saying is that this is not the time. All of us are of the same opinion and, therefore, there is nothing like confusion or lack of understanding within government circles. We all agree that the subsidy is abused and, therefore, it is a challenge to us as an administration to deal with the abuse, to find appropriate means of stopping it. After this meeting, there will be other ones, all in search of ways and means of ensuring that the ordinary Nigerian does not suffer any hardship, that when the subsidy will be removed eventually, it would be at such a point that the hardship will be very minimal and taken care of by several programmes.

“It is not about NLC, we are talking about every Nigerian. We are concerned beyond the Nigerian Labour Congress. I am taking this opportunity to appeal to the TUC and NLC to shelve this plan to go on strike or demonstration, it is totally unnecessary. There is not going to be removal of subsidy, so there is no need for this. Please, let’s not create unnecessary tension where there should be none. I appeal to them using this medium, to please forget about this January 27, 2022, deadline because there is no need for any deadline. We are supposed to come together and work assiduously to ensure that our country is stable, and our people enjoy the benefits of government programmes and projects, and that whatever decision would be taken will be in the best interest of our people and protecting the most vulnerable among us.”

NLC insists on Thursday’s nationwide protest

In their reaction, 

 the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has maintained that it will go ahead with its planned protest. The action it said is to bring home its stand on the removal of petrol subsidy, and deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

The group noted that it is not influenced by Federal Government’s call to put off the fuel subsidy removal.

The  NLC General Secretary Emma Ugboaja, stated this while speaking with Vanguard,  according to him: “We are not distracted by the report that the Federal Government has shelved its plans to remove subsidy on petrol and increase the pump price of petrol because seeing is believing.  We are going ahead with our planned nationwide protest on Thursday.

“The government has all mechanism and means for communication and information. The government has the resources to take advertorials in newspapers, radios, televisions, commission writers, columnists, opinion writers, and so on to propagate their position. All we have is the ability to gather massive information.

“This protest is not a strike. It is about gathering en masse to inform our members, Nigerian workers and masses, how we feel about subsidy on petrol, increase in the pump price of petrol, total deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

“So, Thursday’s protest will go ahead as planned.”

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