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Business News of Thursday, 1 June 2023


NLC expresses outrage over petrol price increase, threatens to withdraw from negotiations with FG

Ajaero Ajaero

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed outrage over the upward adjustment of the pump prices of petrol by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and threatened to withdraw from the negotiations with the Federal Government.

This is coming a few hours after the NNPC had confirmed a new pricing template for petrol, with the prices ranging between N488 per litre and N550 per litre, according to reports.

This disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the National President of NLC, Joe Ajaero, on Wednesday evening, May 31, 2023, where he said the action of the state oil giant is unacceptable to the union.

Ajaero in the statement titled, ‘That NNPC pricing template is vexatious and an ambush: The dialogue is in danger’, said the development runs against the spirit and principles of social dialogue which remains the best platform available for the resolution of these issues.

Negates the spirit of the free market

The NLC President accused the government of inconsistency as they cannot be talking about deregulation in one breath and at the same time be fixing prices of petroleum products.

He said the action is against the spirit of allowing the operation of the free market unless the government has become a market force.

Ajaero said, ‘’We are worried that the Government through the NNPC despite the ongoing meeting of Stakeholders in the oil and Gas sector to manage the unilateral but unfortunate announcement by the President to withdraw subsidy on petroleum products, went ahead this morning to announce a new regime of prices under a new pricing template.

’This is an ambush and runs against the spirit and principles of Social Dialogue which remains the best platform available for the resolution of all the issues arising out of the petroleum Downstream sector.

‘’Government cannot in one breathe be talking about deregulation and at the same time fixing the prices of Petroleum products. This negates the spirit of allowing the operation of the free market unless the government has as usual usurped, captured, or become Market forces.’’

NNPC should withdraw the new pricing template

He said, ‘’It is therefore unacceptable and we seriously condemn it. Good faith negotiation is key to reaching an agreement. What the government has done is like holding a gun to the head of the Nigerian people and bringing undue pressure on the leaders thus undermining the dialogue.

‘’We call on the federal government to immediately instruct the NNPC to withdraw this vexatious Pricing template to allow free flow of discussions by the parties. Nigerians would not accept any manipulations of any kind from any of the parties, especially from the representatives of the Government.’’

NLC threatens to withdraw from dialogue

Ajaero hinted that the NLC might pull out from the dialogue if nothing is done to withdraw that new NNPC pricing template for petrol as it is clear the government is trying to scuttle the process.

He said, ‘’Our commitment to this process is buoyed on the fact that all the parties would be committed to ensuring that it is carried out within the ambits of liberty without undue pressure. The release of that Template may not allow us to continue if nothing is done to withdraw it so that the dialogue can continue unhindered. It is clear that Government is actually trying to scuttle the process.

‘’As it stands, the federal government has become fixated on its chosen course of action. Would this help this dialogue? It clearly will not. There must be flexibility to allow concessions and reasonable accommodation that will produce the best result for the Nigerian people. This is what we all seek at this time.’’