OFFICIALS of the two labour centres in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have described the federal government’s decision to suspend the removal of petrol subsidy as the “best option”.
Comrade Benson Upah, NLC’s Head of Information, told journalists on Thursday in Abuja while reacting to Thursday’s suspension of the subsidy removal by the National Economic Council (NEC), that the NLC is glad that the federal government has seen the light and decided to do the right thing.
“Because the path they wanted to toe on the detriment of the ordinary Nigerians would have set the country on fire.
“There would have been instantaneous reaction. Of course, we would have been glad to coordinate those reactions.
“But happily, they are beginning 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,” he said, adding that the decision would enable all the corruption building into the system to be minimised.
Upah, therefore, called on the federal government to fix the existing refineries or build new ones, instead of importing refined petroleum products.
Speaking on behalf of the TUC, its Secretary General, Comrade Nuhu Toro, said that the federal government’s decision to suspend fuel subsidy removal was a good move.
“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 said.
Toro said that it was good that the government had to rethink its decision on the removal of fuel subsidy.
He also added that refurbishing the existing refineries and production of petroleum products in our country is in the best interest of the country because of the huge advantages.
“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 of 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,” he said.
He added that the decision to revise that policy had further vindicated Nigerians as this was the right thing.
He however, charged the incoming government that the instrumentality of social dialogue should be leveraged upon on issues that affect the general project of Nigeria, adding that the voice and interest of Nigerians could be accommodated.
“Policies should not just be drafted overnight and pushed through people’s throat. Nigeria belongs to all of us.
“We are all critical stakeholders and must be part decision making and implementation body to ensuring that our country move forward,” he said. (NAN)