The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has charged the Federal Government to realise that promises made to citizens are tantamount to social contracts between it and the citizens and must be held in sanctity. This is the case with the issue of price modulation of premium motor spirit popularly known as petrol. The Congress had thought all the promises made during the electioneering campaigns would be kept. Little did we know the masses were again going to be disappointed.
It is our view that Nigerians voted for the present administration because it promised to address the following critical issues amongst others: challenges in the oil and gas sector, insecurity and insurgency, rescue of the abducted Chibok school girls from the clutches of the Boko Haram sect, rapid depreciation of the naira, payment of token welfare package of N5,000 to the unemployed, creation of job opportunities for the army of youths, etc.
Considering the drastic fall in the price of crude in the international market, we expected that the pump price of fuel would be reduced by at least 40 percent instead of the infinitesimal and inhuman reduction that the government recently announced. It is most disappointing that the government reduced the price by just N1 and 50k at filling stations respectively owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the independent marketers. For over a decade we had raised our voice against the mono-cultural nature of our economy and appealed to government to diversify it but they took no such warnings seriously, and here we are like prodigal sons.
Prior to the elections we were told that there was nothing like oil subsidy. How is it then that the Minister of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu now tells us that the country can no longer subsidise fuel because of fraud involved in the operation of the policy and the fact that the Federal Government’s earnings has drastically deteriorated due to fallen price of crude?
The Congress holds the present administration accountable on its promise not to tinker with the subsidy arrangement. Its latest move betrays our trust. It is as well illegal and diversionary, given the fact that avowed conditions precedent for effecting the removal as suggested by the Congress over the years have not been met. For us the focus of the government should be on how to refine petroleum products in Nigeria, and not to further impoverish Nigerians through any guise. Thus the payment of monies to cronies to rehabilitate refineries that have nonetheless rarely functioned at up to 30 percent of installed capacity must cease forthwith.
The government should avert impending crisis. Their word should be their bond. GOVERNMENT SHOULD ENDEAVOUR TO BE BELIEVABLE.
Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama Comrade Musa Lawal
President, TUC Secretary General, TUC