he Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has rejected the new pump prices for petroleum products announced by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), saying it was against the interest of deregulation.
The Labour movement noted that the oil giant couldn’t be talking of deregulation in one breathe and Price fixing in another.
The NNPCL on Wednesday jerked up the pump prices of premium motor spirit otherwise known as petrol (PMS) by over 200 per cent bringing the price of fuel to between N488 and N557 per litre.
The NLC argued that the decision to announce a new pump price regime was against the interest of social dialogue.
In a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, the NLC called on the Federal Government to immediately instruct the NNPCL to withdraw this “vexatious Pricing template to allow free flow of discussions by the parties.”
The NLC threatened to pull out of talks with the government if nothing was done to withdraw the new price template so that the dialogue can continue unhindered.
The statement reads: “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 Down-stream 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.
“It is therefore unacceptable and we seriously condemn it. Good faith negotiation is key to reaching agreement. What the government has done is like holding a gun to the head of Nigerian people and bring 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.
“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 the Government is actually trying to scuttle the process.
“As it stands, the federal government has become fixated on their 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 Nigerian people. This is what we all seek at this time.”