Why labour is opposed to fuel subsidy removal – Wabba
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, says it is opposed to the total removal of petrol subsidy, maintaining that the Federal Government should rather concentrate on recovery of looted funds and eliminating corruption in the subsidy regime.
NLC president, Mr. Ayuba P. Wabba, who disclosed this, maintained that the current arrangement in the nation’s downstream oil and gas sub-sector is inefficient and that the hardship arising from removal of subsidy should not be transferred to the masses.
“The current system is inefficient and the hardship should not be transferred to the masses. The system should be cleaned up and then we can look at other issues associated with subsidy because the current system is not sustainable,” he said.
He stated that the nation needed a transparent oil and gas sector as every issue in the country is tied to oil.
“To run your personal business; to run your car and to run even small and medium scale enterprises, everything depends on oil.
Therefore, any increase in price by removing subsidy will have a multiplier effect. The cost of transportation will go up and every cost is tied to production cost.
“There will be increasing costs when poverty is ravaging Nigeria,” Wabba said, adding: “I don’t think it (removal of subsidy) is appropriate”. He continued: “We should find ways around how to make the system transparent because from the reports of the various audits of subsidy payments, including that of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), a lot of public resources and revenues that accrued to the country have gone into private pockets.
“Let them (government) recover those resources. When they recover those resources and the system becomes transparent, we can come back and look at the other associated issues. But for now, for us I don’t think we should add salt to injury because Nigerians are already on the ground and anybody who is on the ground is no longer afraid of falling.
“That is the situation we are in. Poverty is high; unemployment is high; many people cannot eat three square meals in a day. The issue is about how we can strengthen our system and put in place, a measure of good governance, then we can be able to discuss if there are other issues”.