.Warns against subjecting availability, affordability of petroleum products to market forces
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that the reduction of pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol from N145 to N125 would never address the endemic challenges and confusion in the nation’s downstream petroleum sub sector.
Recall that following a drop in crude oil prices as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the reduction in pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS), from N145 per litre to N125 litre.
The reduction as communicated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), will translate to N125/litre retail pump price.
President Buhari, who gave the approval on Wednesday in Abuja, equally directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to reduce the Ex-Coastal and Ex-Depot prices of PMS to reflect current market realities.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said while the the step taken by Federal Government was in the right direction, the price reduction did not cut across the array of other refined petroleum products.
“We also wish to state that the recent price reduction would never address the endemic challenges and confusion in our downstream petroleum sub sector.
“The downward adjustment of the pump prices of refined petroleum products does not address the inefficiencies and corruption in our downstream petroleum sub sector.
“Our failure as a country to add value to our crude oil and the resort to the importation of refined petroleum products expose us as a most unserious people who are negligent of their basic duties,” he said.
While noting that there is no acceptable reason or basis for the continued importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria, Wabba said that the periodic adjustment (upward or downward) of the pump price of refined petroleum products would never assuage the desire of the ordinary Nigerian to enjoy to a reasonable extent resources that God has put in abundance in our environment and under our control.
“We would not be surprised if the pump price of PMS is adjusted tomorrow to N200 or more and the same reason for the current downward review is canvassed by government. As a matter of fact, we are yet to understand the basis for the current reduction as the price of crude oil has fallen by more than 50%, yet price reduction is barely up to 20%. Certainly, subjecting the availability and affordability of refined petroleum products in Nigeria to international market forces is a perfect recipe for economic disaster and social chaos.
“We call on government to demonstrate patriotic governance of our national resources by ensuring the resuscitation of our four public petroleum refineries.”
Speaking on the Coronavirus pandemic, the NLC President said it was necessary to for a worker-based strategy to be adopted considering the fact that they are are at frontline risk given their exposure at points of entry or departure.
“Worker-based strategy is necessary given that workers are at frontline risk given their exposure at points of entry or departure, or hospitals or any other place of interest. In the face of Covid-l9, workers are also exposed to secondary risks such as threats of loss of jobs or actual job losses.
“Employers are duty-bound to provide facilities for dispensing running water as well as hand sanitisers at work places within the reach of workers. Employers should maintain well-ventilated and routinely sanitised work spaces as well as take other measures for preventing and containing the spread of Covid-l9. They should also put in place processes and mechanisms for continual worker education on the virus,” he added.