The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the new pump price of petrol fixed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) saying that the unilateral action represents an ambush on Nigerians.
The NNPCL has on Wednesday announced a price review of petrol around the country with prices ranging from N480-N570 per liter.
Garba Deen Muhammad, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd, had said the price adjustment was made in line with “market realities”.
But NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, who briefed journalists at Labour House, Abuja, on Wednesday, described the development as an “ambush” insisting that any subsequent dialogue is in danger.
He argued that the Congress would not accept that because government cannot be talking about deregulation and at the same time fixing the prices of Petroleum products, noting that removal of subsidy or fixing of price is not what government could do unilaterally.
“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,” the labour leader said.
Comrade Ajaero, however, called on the President Bola Tinubu-led federal government to immediately instruct the NNPCL to withdraw what he described as its “vexatious pricing template” to allow free flow of discussions by the parties.
He said the meeting scheduled to be held among stakeholders by 2pm today as announced in the morning, has been put on hold, accusing the government of trying to scuttle the dialogue.
The labour leader added, “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 undermine 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 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.”