Fuel Subsidy: FG, Labour leaders’ meeting ends in deadlock

The meeting between the organised labour and the federal government representatives at the State House, Abuja, on the removal of subsidy on fuel ended in a stalemate as no agreement was reached.

The meeting at the Conference Hall of the Chief of Staff to the President came after the announcement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that subsidy on fuel had gone and new prices of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) introduced by NNPCL.

The organised labour was led by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero and his counterpart for the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

According to Ukadike “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it, that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

Speaking after the stalemated meeting, Ajaero and Osifo stressed that status quo be maintained on the prices of PMS while negotiations continued.

Both labour leaders said another meeting would hold after discussions with members of their executives on the outcomes of Wednesday’s interaction with federal government team.

Ajaero said there was no consensus after the meeting, adding that “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

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