As Nigerians cry over recent hike in fuel pump prices across the country and resurfacing of fuel queues at various major petrol stations arising from the announcement by President Bola Tinubu during his inaugural speech yesterday, some labour leaders say there is a need for all stakeholders in the sector, including the government, to analyse the issue of fuel subsidy removal, IgbereTV has learned.
Tinubu, on taking office on Monday, said that the budget in place before his coming on board made no provision for fuel subsidy, and so it was gone.
The President commended the decision of the Buhari administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime, saying it had increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor.
“Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.
“We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” he said.
Labour leaders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that the issue needed a holistic approach.
The National Deputy President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Mr Tommy Okon, said that there had to be stakeholder engagements in which organised labour was one.
“So, we cannot just comment on it until we are engaged, but we have made our position known in our charter of demand to remove fuel subsidies.
“So, it will not be a one-off response because organised labour is partners in progress; they need to sit down and discuss and agree before that is done to avoid industrial unrest, “ Okon said.
Also, Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, the Secretary-General, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, said stakeholders would sit to analyse the situation and proffer the way forward for the betterment of the country.
“We need to analyse the situation, sit with stakeholders including the government, and see the way forward.
“This is pending when our local refineries, which has been our major point, that once we produce locally, all these issues about subsidy removal will not be there.
“Once we produce locally, not that the price will not be there, but at least, it will be reduced,” Okugbawa said
On his part, the Secretary-General of TUC, Mr Nuhu Toho, said the union would issue a statement in reaction to some of the issues raised in the president’s inaugural speech. (NAN)