It was gathered that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it is totally opposed to any further fuel price increases as being speculated, saying Nigerians are yet to see the benefits of the last increase.
The NLC expressed concern that while Nigerians are still struggling to cope with the severe hardship imposed on them by the last increase in the price of petroleum products, there are ongoing media campaigns and contradictory statements by the NNPC and government officials on yet another plan to review the template for the pricing of petroleum products.
NLC President Ayuba Wabba while addressing journalists after the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the congress held in Sokoto said any further increment would amount to unleashing further hardship on workers and the poor.
He called on The Federal government to rather take urgent step to implement the N56, 000 new minimum wage proposed by Labour.
He said, “the government must not take us for granted; indeed the patience and perseverance of the entire populace must not be taken for granted as we will sure mobilise the entire citizenry for mass protests in addition to other legitimate actions to resist any further increase.
“What is urgently required of government is not another increase but a downward review of the current pump price of petroleum products.
“The current National Minimum Wage Act has long elapsed and as you are already aware, we have long submitted our proposal for a review but Government seem not in a haste to recognise the urgency in attending to our demands.
“Nigerian workers and pensioners are as important to the growth of the economy and must not be allowed to continue to suffer further hardships. We therefore reiterate our call on government to treat the review of the minimum wage and pension with the utmost urgency they deserve.”
Wabba said while the NLC commend the Federal Government in its sustained battle against corruption and determination to ensure good governance in the country, it urged that the battle should be more systemic and institutionalised with strong laws and institutions strengthened enough to sustain the battle.
He said, “Our country has been seriously harmed both in image and resources by the impunity with which public funds were looted for decades such that what we need is beyond a flash in the pan approach.
“We will support government in all areas that will promote good governance at all levels and all facets of the Nigerian society as long as it sustains its commitment to delivering people driven governance that will promote decency and growth in all spheres of our socio economic and political endeavour.
“But we will not support the plan by the Federal Government to borrow more money from anywhere as we obviously have enough to attend to our immediate needs. For instance, if the government vigorously pursues those in possession of our collective wealth, especially multinationals who have refused to remit funds meant for corporate Nigeria, we would have enough to rejuvenate the economy and the quality of the lives of our people. NEITI has already been quoted to have discovered that $22billion (Twenty two billion dollars) has not been remitted by multinational firms to the federation account. This amount alone can take care of some of the areas any new loan is expected to be expended on.
“If we must borrow, perhaps such borrowings, on terms strictly not against our collective interests and in particular not designed to deepen our debt burden, it should be directed towards revitalising rail transportation and roads and not for servicing remunerations or tastes of public office holders. Loans must have specific targets in public interest and strictly directed to their original uses; that is if we must take any at all.
“We are also opposed to the idea of giving public funds to bail out commercial banks or interests, especially the recent proposal to give out $7 billion as bailout funds to commercial banks without any repayment schedule whatsoever.”