Labour unions have lauded the federal government’s decision to suspend the removal of petrol subsidy describing it as the best decision.
The federal government had earlier concluded plans to stop subsidy payments on petroleum products from July, but a postponement was announced on Monday due to “high inflation and economic hardship”.
Subsidy or under-recovery refers to the underpriced sales of premium motor spirit, PMS, popularly known as petrol.
Reacting to the postponement, head of information Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Benson Upah, said the union is glad that the government “has seen the light and decided to do the right thing”.
Upah said, He said the removal of petrol subsidy “would have set the country on fire”.
“There would have been an instantaneous reaction. Of course, we would have been glad to coordinate those reactions.
“But happily, they have begun to see the light. Our advice would be that they should take a lesson from the document we gave them on the so-called fuel subsidy removal.
“The answer cannot be far from domestic production.”
The NLC head of information said the development would reduce the corruption in the system while he urged the government to fix the existing refineries or build new ones instead of importing refined petroleum products.
Also, the secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nuhu Toro, described the government’s decision as a good move.
He said, “Though it’s coming late but the federal government’s decision to suspend the move to remove fuel subsidy has alluded to the fact that such harsh economic policy ought to have been a product of social dialogue which was not done.
“We told Nigerians earlier on that the policy is ill-timed and is not acceptable. So it is good that the government has done a U-turn because the policy cannot be forced down our throat.”
He added that refurbishing the existing refineries and production of petroleum products in Nigeria is in the best interest of the country.
Toro said, “First, it would create jobs, make the petroleum products available for consumption and probably reduce the price of the products.
“It will also guarantee foreign direct investment and make Nigeria a better place.
“We are confused that our refineries are not working and we have asked over time, why are the refineries not working.
“So there is a strong need for a deliberate effort by the incoming government to ensure that our refineries work.
“All the monies they claim go to the process of deregulation can actually be utilised to make our refineries functional.”
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