The Nigeria Labour Congress has said that the new price for petrol announced by the Federal Government will not change its opposition to the removal of the fuel subsidy.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Wednesday, that the Federal Government did not follow due process in arriving at the new prices.
The Federal Government had said that petrol would sell at N86.50k for marketers and N86 at the retail outlets of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
But Ozo-Eson said that the Federal Government had a responsibility to follow the rule of law in the process of arriving at the fuel pump price in line with the current realities in the country.
He said that it was only the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency that was empowered by law to recommend the price for petroleum products.
The NLC’s scribe said that the board of the PPPRA which comprises stakeholders had not been constituted for over two years.
He stated that the NLC was not hailing the seeming withdrawal because the same government which reduced the pump price outside the law could still increase it outside the law.
The general secretary said, “That does not change anything. We have said that the process required to set the prices is with the PPPRA and the board has not been constituted. Therefore all these prices are being done outside the law.
“The process is unacceptable to labour. The process of coming out with the price is unacceptable because the law had not been followed. If today, you can give outside the law, tomorrow, you can also take outside the law.
“That is the implication. If government acts outside the law and we celebrate the deduction, then when they act outside the law to increase it, I mean, the rule of law should underline the function of government in a democracy. There are laws that should guide the functions of government. Those laws should be obeyed.”
On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said the price reduction would not make any economic difference
He said, “I can’t get the rhyme and reason for this action. When crude price fell to $47 in January 2015, the price of a litre of petrol was slashed from N97 to N87. Now that crude is selling for $34, we are reducing by just 50k. If someone buys 50 litres of fuel, all he is saving is N25! What can that buy?
“It absolutely makes no economic difference and changes nothing.”