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Fuel subsidy: Buhari should tread warily – TUC

 

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has charged the Federal Government to realise that promises made to citizens are tantamount to social contracts between it and the citizens and must be held in sanctity. This is the case with the issue the recent moderation of the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol.

The Congress had thought all the promises made during the electioneering would be kept, “but little did we know the masses were again going to be disappointed.”

“It is our view that Nigerians voted for the present administration, because it promised to address the following critical issues: challenges in the oil and gas sector, insecurity and insurgency, rescue of the abducted Chibok school girls from the clutches of the Boko Haram sect, rapid depreciation of the naira,

payment of token welfare package of N5, 000 to the unemployed, creation of job opportunities for the army of youths, etc.,” the Congress said.

A visibly disappointed Congress was of the view that considering the drastic fall in the price of crude oil in the international market, it had expected that the pump price of fuel would be reduced by at least 40 percent, instead of the unimpressive slash that the Buhari administration announced, recently.

It said that it was most disappointing that the government reduced the price at filling stations owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the independent marketers by just N1 and 50k, respectively.

The Congress recalled that for over a decade it had cautioned against the mono-cultural nature of the country’s economy and appealed to government to diversify it, but to no avail’ adding that “here we are like prodigal sons,” as the economy had grown rather lean on account of naked corruption, especially by those in government.‎

“Prior to the elections, we were told that there was nothing like oil subsidy. How is it then that the Minister of State for Petroleum and Group ManagingDirector, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu now tells us that the country can no longer subsidise petrol, because of the gargantuan fraud involved in the operation of the policy and the fact that the Federal Government’s earnings had drastically decreased due to fall in the price of crude oil? ‎

The Congress holds the present administration accountable on its promise not to tinker with the subsidy arrangement. It says that “the latest move by the Buhari administration betrays our trust. It is as well illegal and diversionary, given the fact that the desired conditions offered by the Congress, over the years, just in case the petrol subsidy is to be discontinued, have not been met. For us the focus of the government should be on how to refine petroleum products in Nigeria, and not to further impoverish Nigerians through any guise. Thus, the payment of monies to cronies to rehabilitate refineries that have, nonetheless, rarely functioned at up to 30 percent of installed capacity, if at all, must cease forthwith. To toe this line of action, as the Congress expects, would help the anti-corruption cause of the Buhari administration‎.

 

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