NLC Says Position on Removal of Petrol Subsidies Unchanged

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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has reiterated its position on the removal of petrol subsidies, saying that it has not changed.

The NLC in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, was responding to a comment by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, who is also the spokesperson of the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Mr Keyamo had asked the NLC of its stand on the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi’s decision to remove fuel subsidy, if elected.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the congress had articulated a Nigerian Workers’ Charter of Demands to engage the political process.

“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,” the NLC president added.

He said the production economy was at the heart of their demand on the management of Nigeria’s mineral resources, especially the downstream petroleum sub-sector.

He said the congress believed in the rescue of Nigeria from the current path of consumption economy to production economy as the only way to resolve the country’s massive depletion of scarce foreign exchange reserves.

Mr 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 campaigns 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.”

Mr Wabba said that the NLC, Organised Labour, and Labour Party position had not changed, adding that “It only got amplified.”

(NAN)

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