Trade Union Congress warns against hike in fuel price

FuelThe Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has warned the Federal Government against any plan to increase the pump price of fuel.It urged the government to improve people’s living conditions.

Speaking recently in Lagos the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, said economy is in crisis and life has become very difficult for the common man who now can hardly afford two square meals per day in which the present minimum wage can longer purchase a bag of rice.

Businesses are shutting down leading to millions of job losses, which of course have accentuated increased cases of crime and other vices. If all the members of the NNPC team can offer as recipe to contain this scourge of economic downturn is to hike the price of petroleum products, then they are not fit to manage the sector and should throw in the towel”.“We suggest that the government should reduce the cost of governance and create a more friendly business environment and jobs” he said.

Kaigama said the country is already on its knees, and it is our thinking that the priority of government now should be how to salvage the situation through other creative and resourceful avenues, such as: downwardly reviewing the cost of governance, creating friendly business environment and jobs, diversifying the economy, setting up an economic team that would creatively fashion out modalities to navigate the stormy waters of recession. If persons in government feel our pains as it claims to do, then the news that people are already exchanging their children for bags of rice should prick their conscience.

He stated that government should not consider any increase in pump price of fuel because the call for a review of minimum wage for workers had not been harkened to.
“Federal government had yet to fulfill its promises and agreement with the organised labour during the May protest against the hike in fuel price,” it said.He said that life had become difficult for Nigerians and the current minimum wage could no longer cater for many families.

He advised the government to fulfill its promise based on which it inaugurated a joint government-labour committee to determine the new economically realistic national minimum wage Kaigama urged the government to enhance local production, build more refineries and maintain the stability of foreign exchange for the economy to improve.

If the country had other sources of forex or produces most of what it imports, the economy would not be what it is now. What stops the government from building more refineries and diversifying the economy? The federal government should maintain some stability of forex, taking into cognisance the fact that Nigeria is an import-dependent country. The implication of refining outside the country is enormous: if you are refining outside you must pay for cost of transportation, insurance and port charges, etc. We just cannot continue to tow the same line’’.

’The union will resist further hike in the price of petrol if that is what it will take to get the government into thinking out of the box. We do hope it doesn’t get to that. We urge the government to fulfil its promises for which it set up the joint Governemnt-labour Committee to determine a new more economically realistic national minimum wage and proffer ways by which pains of the last increment can be ameliorated’’ kaigama said.  

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