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Return of fuel queues unacceptable, says NLC


• PPPRA Insists No Price Hike Intended

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has berated the Federal Government over the resurgence of fuel queues across the country, stressing that it considers the scarcity an insult to the collective pride of Nigerians.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in Abuja yesterday that various excuses given by government, as reasons for the pain Nigerians were experiencing, are not acceptable.

He said: “The NLC considers this scarcity as an act of cruelty and sabotage from which a few privileged are benefitting. The timing of this artificial scarcity is not lost on us, as it is intended to maximise pain and profit, since it is a well-known fact that the Christmas season witnesses the biggest movement of people, goods and services.”

Ayuba reiterated that the congress equally considers the scarcity as an insult to the collective pride of all good Nigerians.Also, NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, told The Guardian that the confusion in the downstream sub-sector of the Nigerian oil and gas sector was established when the price modulation based on petroleum products import regime was introduced.

“Nigerians will be bear us witness that we canvassed against the introduction of price modulation; we said it was going to fail. Our argument then was that there was no way a price modulation regime can work in an environment that is import dependent. It would be recalled that the NLC staged protests against the move, but we were ignored. Today, we are back to the same turf. The scarcity we are witnessing now is not new. It started two years ago technically.”

Dr. Ozo-Eson, who is also a member of the PPPRA board, said there was no discussion on upward price adjustment when the board met last week. He insisted that it was the duty of the PPPRA management to respond to all the issues that are driving the present scarcity, adding: “The board does not speak on any matter. That is the job of the management. It is the management that speaks on all the issues. The management should sort out all the bottlenecks, so that people will not have any problems travelling during Yuletide.”

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Abdukadir Umar, said there are no plans to increase fuel price.

“We want to use this medium to assure all Nigerians that there is no need for apprehension or panic buying. We are confident that the NNPC, being a major supplier of petroleum products into the system and the supplier of last resort, can ensure uninterrupted supply of petroleum products into the market and the corporation has given assurances in that regard.”

The PPPRA boss urged fuel consumers across the country to be calm as there is no plan by government to review the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). He stressed that his agency would continue to monitor the supply situation and take every step required to ensure that there is no disruption in the system. He also assured stakeholders and members of the public of uninterrupted products supply and distribution, pursuant to the overall goal of facilitating a vibrant and robust downstream oil and gas sub-sector.

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