NLC rejects fuel price hike, lambasts NNPC for hasty announcement

The NLC accused the NNPCL of bypassing it before announcing a new price regime for petroleum products following the removal of the subsidy.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has slated the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) for adjusting the price of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) otherwise known as petrol in the country.

This comes a few hours after the NNPCL announced a hike in the pump price of petrol, which became necessary after President Bola Tinubu confirmed the end of the subsidy era in his inaugural speech on Monday, May 29, 2023.

Since Tinubu’s pronouncement, fuel queues have resurfaced across the country as Nigerians embarked on panic buying of the premium product, resulting in scarcity and an upward surge in price from N185 per litre to between N400 and N600 per litre.

To eliminate the sudden confusion, the NNPCL via a statement by its Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba Deen Muhammad, on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, announced a new price regime.

The oil firm directed its outlets and subsidiaries nationwide to sell fuel between N480 and N570 per litre, noting that the price adjustment was done to reflect “market realities”.

NLC condemns NPPCL for acting unilaterally

Reacting to the development, the labour union rejected the new price regime while also accusing the NNPC of not carrying out due consultations before taking the decision.

The NLC conveyed its worry in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, who described the development as unfortunate.

He said the NNPCL’s action came on the heels of an ongoing meeting with industry stakeholders on how to manage the unilateral but unfortunate announcement by the National oil company.

The statement read: “We are worried that the Government through the NNPC despite the ongoing meeting of Stakeholders in the oil and Gas sector to manage the unilateral but unfortunate announcement by the President to withdraw subsidy on petroleum products, went ahead this morning to announce a new regime of prices under a new pricing template.

“This is an ambush and runs against the spirit and principles of Social Dialogue which remains the best platform available for the resolution of all the issues arising out of the petroleum Downstream sector.

“Government cannot in one breathe be talking about deregulation and at the same time fixing the prices of Petroleum products. This negates the spirit of allowing the operation of the free market unless the government has as usual usurped, captured or become Market forces.

“It is therefore unacceptable and we seriously condemn it. Good faith negotiation is key to reaching agreement. What the government has done is like holding a gun to the head of Nigerian people and bring undue pressure on the leaders thus undermine the dialogue.

We call on the federal government to immediately instruct the NNPC to withdraw this vexatious Pricing template to allow free flow of discussions by the parties. Nigerians would not accept any manipulations of any kind from any of the parties especially from the representatives of the Government.

“Our commitment to this process is buoyed on the fact that all the parties would be committed to ensuring that it is carried out within the ambits of liberty without undue pressure. The release of that Template may not allow us to continue if nothing is done to withdraw it so that the dialogue can continue unhindered. It is clear that Government is actually trying to scuttle the process.

“As it stands, the federal government has become fixated on their chosen course of action. Would this help this dialogue? It clearly will not. There must be flexibility to allow concessions and reasonable accommodation that will produce the best result for Nigerian people. This is what we all seek at this time.”

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