Nigerian Labour Congress has reiterated its position on the removal of petrol subsidies, saying that its has not changed. The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this in a statement signed and made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja. It will be recalled that Mr Festus Kayamo Minister of State for Labour and Employment had tasked the NLC to come out clean on its stand on the Labour party presidential candidate, Peter Obi’s decision to remove fuel subsidy, if elected. Keyamo is also the Campaign Spokesperson of the Wabba said that the NLC had painstaking processes and articulated a Nigerian Workers’ Charter of Demands which the organised labour would be using to engage the political process.
According to him, the move was in furtherance of the avowed position of the NLC on issues-based campaign in the run up to the 2023 General Elections. “A major demand in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands is that our local public refineries must work. We have also demanded that we must stop 100 per cent importation of refined petroleum products.
The NLC and indeed the labour movement in Nigeria had over many decades been vehemently consistent that the only way to address the issue of the so-called petrol subsidies is to get our refineries to work. The logic is very simple: it is not economical to buy from abroad at very expensive prices a product that a country like ours can easily produce at home,’’he said.
Wabba added that, at the heart of their demand on the management of Nigeria’s mineral resources, especially the downstream petroleum sub-sector was the issue of Production Economy. He said that the congress believed that the rescue of Nigeria from the current path of Consumption Economy to Production Economy was the only way to resolve Nigeria’s economic nightmares of massive depletion of scarce foreign exchange reserve. Wabba said this would resolve the continuous devaluation of the Naira; significant jobs reduction, poverty and downturn in the living standards of the people. “In a determined effort to popularise the positions in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands, the NLC and TUC at the behest of the Labour Party on Monday and Tuesday hosted a National Retreat of the leadership cadres in our movement. At the retreat, the Labour Party and Organised Labour in Nigeria adopted and mainstreamed the Workers Charter of Demands into the Manifesto of the Labour Party.“This is in line with our persuasion that issue-based campaign anchored on the manifesto of political parties should drive Nigeria’s political process. If any political party goes around saying that they plan to sell our refineries, remove subsidies, they should be ready to defend such stance to Nigerians at the campaigns, ’’he added. He said that, the NLC, Organised Labour, and Labour Party position had not changed. It only got amplified, ’’he said.