Fuel subsidy removal: Tinubu will keep promise to review workers’ salaries – Forum
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Professionals Forum has assured that President Bola Tinubu will keep his promise to review workers’ salaries and introduce palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
Malam Isa Yuguda, Chairman of the forum’s Board of Trustees (BOT), gave the assurance at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the forum was compelled to address the media on issues surrounding fuel subsidy removal in the aftermath of Tinubu’s inauguration day address on May 29.
Yuguda added that what Tinubu did was to let the country know what he was inheriting, especially as it was backed by the 2023 Appropriation Act and the Petroleum Industry Act of 2021 which had a clear timeline for subsidy removal.
He noted that so much had been said about what fuel subsidy was costing us as a nation and how it was affecting service delivery across all sectors.
He reaffirmed the forum’s position that Tinubu did no wrong by reminding Nigerians that fuel subsidy was gone in his May 29 speech.
“But what rankled us, like many Nigerians, was the knee-jerk reaction by oil marketers who proceeded to hoard fuel and cause hardship for Nigerians across the country.
He added that while the forum saw nothing wrong with Tinubu’s removal of fuel subsidy, it was taken aback by the subsequent strike threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
He said the development, however, gave Nigerians the opportunity to witness first-hand the leadership capacity of Tinubu.
This, he said, was with regards to the manner he approached the threat of the unions to embark on a nationwide strike against fuel subsidy removal and how he eventually tackled the situation that led to shelving the strike.
He commended the two unions for heeding the voice of reason by first returning to the negotiation table after an initial reluctance and agreeing to suspend the planned strike.
According to Yuguda, the earlier planned nationwide strike was not necessary in the first place.
“From all indications, promises were made by the government side, led by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.”
The promises include what is likely to pave the way for a new national minimum wage, palliatives and a framework for the completion of the ongoing overhaul of the nation’s refineries.
“Our message to the organised labour is for them to trust Tinubu and to trust the process: he is a promise keeper.
“He will keep his vow to review workers’ salaries which he first hinted at even before his team went into talks with Labour over fuel subsidy removal.
“We have an administration in place led by a pro-people President that will keep to the terms of his Renewed Hope agenda,” he said.
He added that the NLC and TUC as well as the good people of Nigeria had no reason to doubt that the agreements would be kept.
He noted how Tinubu resolved the health workers’ strike which began a few days to his inauguration on May 25 with ease.
He recalled that Tinubu resolved the issue by holding direct talks with the leadership of the Joint Health Sectors Union (JOHESU) the same day talks were held to resolve issues surrounding fuel subsidy.
“We dare say that all these should provide clear insight into the hands-on approach that Tinubu is bringing into governance at the centre,” he said.
Yuguda urged Nigerians from all walks of life to exercise patience and support Tinubu, even in the face of the initial discomfort that the removal of fuel subsidy would bring.
He said Tinubu’s administration had resolved to implement palliative measures to cushion the effect of the policy on the citizens, especially the poor and low-income earners.