The Federal Government has assured the tripartite labour community of the organised labour, organised private sector and indeed all Nigerians that there is currently no increase in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS).
However this, organised labour, at the weekend, vowed to resist further increase and berated government’s deregulation policy based on importation.
A statement in Abuja by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said there would be no increase in the price of PMS for now, as discussions were still on between government and organised labour as well as other stakeholders on the matter.
“I have made contact with the relevant authorities, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC and wish to assure members of the public, especially the organised labour and workers that there is no such increase for now.
“We have an ongoing discussion and standing committees comprising labour and government on one hand and another, comprising the office of the Vice-President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation , governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, group managing director of NNPC and the ministers of labour, petroleum and finance.”
He explained that the discussions were ongoing concurrently and the next meeting between the Federal Government and labour would hold immediately after the Easter break.
According to Ngige, the present attempt to hoist a fait accompli on the government and all its efforts run against the ongoing discussions. “We, hence, wish to warn the insidious harbingers of such information not to portray government as cruel, irresponsible and unamenable to social dialogue and collective bargaining.”
“Government will at the right time do an appropriate pricing for petroleum products but not without taking other issues into consideration. This is to ensure that Nigerians don’t suffer the pangs of any price increase in petroleum products.
“Government has deregulated petroleum products and market forces have to dictate pricing. That notwithstanding, government has decided to give it a human face by agreeing to some palliative measures that will make the price realistic and affordable to ordinary Nigerians.
“We, therefore, wish to re-assure our partners in the organised labour, the NLC, TUC and affiliate unions that there will be no increase in the price of PMS for now. They should therefore continue to cooperate with government side to have a fruitful outcome from the discussions,” he said.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted that its position remains constant as further increase would compound the sufferings of Nigerians.
According to the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, any further increase will not only lead to hyper-inflation, but will equally erode the purchasing power of every Nigerian.
He said, “Moreso the cost of goods and services will go up, transportation, rent, etc. It will further push many Nigerians into poverty. So, basically, this is why we have remained constant to say that, if the policy of deregulation is based on importation, definitely, we are in for a very vicious cycle. That’s why this issue has gone for a very long time. We are not going to accept it.”
– The Sun