The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the proposed N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians by the federal government after the fuel subsidy has been removed.
According to the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, there are no ongoing talks between labour and the Federal Government, as negotiation was adjourned indefinitely months ago.
The NLC said that while the government took a monologue approach in deciding the removal of subsidies, it will continue to reject deregulation that is based on the importation of petroleum products, saying that constant devaluation of the naira won’t guarantee realistic petrol prices.
It said: “This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the naira, which currently goes for N560 to 1US$ in the parallel market. Thus, any attempt to compare the price of petrol in Nigeria to other countries would be set on a faulty premise as it would be akin to comparing apples to mangoes.”
Attacking the government’s intention to increase petrol prices by more than 200 per cent, it said that this would increase prices astronomically and potentially result in a deterioration of the current instability crisis and public unrest.
The NLC argued that a complete transfer of petrol prices to market power is baseless and will normalize the supply and demand curve. This is due to the insensitive reality of the current market for cooking gas, diesel and kerosene.
Therefore, it warned that the government’s bait to pay N5,000 to 40 million Nigerians as palliative care to mitigate the effects of high rises in petrol prices is humorous while asking the government to produce empirical data on the number of refined petroleum products that Nigerians consume daily.
Meanwhile, the Senate said yesterday that the proposed 2022 budget does not include monthly payments of 5000 naira to 40 million Nigerians as transportation stipends.`
Senator Adeola Olamilekan Solomon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance told reporters at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
He acknowledged that there is a provision for subsidy in the budget that was submitted by the executive. He contended that the proposed expenditure, which will cost the government over N2.4 trillion will require the approval of the National Assembly.
According to him: “I don’t want to go into details. If there is something like that, a document needs to come to the National Assembly and how do they want to identify the beneficiaries?
“For us, we still believe the proposed subsidy grant is news because the budget we are considering contains just petrol subsidy and we can only speak on the document currently before us.”
Recall that the Federal Government said yesterday, that its transport subsidy payment of N5,000 to the vulnerable would be given digitally for at least six months and at most 12 months.
The stipend sharing would begin after the fuel subsidy has been removed in June 2022.