The National Executive Council of the Trade Union Congress has outlined a number of conditions which the Nigerian Government must meet before it can fully deregulate the downstream oil sector.
Presiding over the meeting in Abuja on Saturday, TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, said government has no basis for proposing to finally hands off subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit when it has not taken into consideration palliatives to over 40 million extremely poor Nigerians.
The TUC equally noted that there must be assurances that refineries were fully overhauled and establishment of modular refineries encouraged.
They also noted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, lamenting that while it has resulted in several job losses, there should be concrete policy initiatives by government to generate mass employment.
An existing adhoc committee set up by the National Economic Council with governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el Rufai, as chairman had met several times where they drafted a report proposing total liberalisation of the downstream oil sector, a development that may shore up the price of PMS from the current N165 to N302 per litre.
While they met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, last week Thursday to harmonise their position, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, had disclosed that the committee had not yet decided on the subsidy removal, as a time line of June 2022 still exits before it can be reconsidered.
But among other conditions, the TUC expects government at the state and federal levels to meet, including putting measures in place to ameliorate the suffering of the people through food security and infrastructural development.
According to the union, the proposal by the National Economic Council on the final removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit as from June 2022 should take into consideration the attendant economic impact on the economy.
TUC said the Federal Government should ensure that price of rice in the market becomes affordable to the common man in order to justify the rice revolution policy of the administration.
It also said it expects that privatisation of the power sector should be reviewed since the contracts have expired to ensure viability, job security and effectiveness of the sector.
Olaleye said failure to meet these demands, TUC state executives would mobilise for industrial action against the government.
“NEC-in-Session insist that Federal Government must ensure that the conditions precedent put forward by the TUC on the deregulation of the downstream such as; the revitalization of existing refineries, establishment of new ones including modular refineries, effective policing of boarders to stem the rate of petroleum products smuggling, e.t.c are implemented.
“NEC-in-session enjoined congress members nation-wide to obtain their Permanent Voter Cards and ensure active participation in the democratic process ahead of 2023 general elections. Members are also urged to support the political commission of the congress in creating groundswell awareness for providing leadership alternatives that deliver on democratic dividends and transformative governance to the people.
“Finally, NEC-in-dession has mandated the congress led by the President to take all necessary steps to ensure that these conditions are met before subsidy is removed. Consequently, NEC-in-session directs state councils and affiliates to commence mobilisation of members for industrial actions against subsidy removal without government fulfilling conditions precedent,” the TUC President stated at a press conference.