From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is scheduled to have a crucial discussion with the federal government today at 2 pm as regards the proposed fuel subsidy removal.
NLC National President Joe Ajaero made this disclosure while he was a guest on the Sunrise Daily programme on Channels Television Wednesday.
Ajaero stressed that the labour union has consistently maintained its stance that even if President Bola Tinubu has good intentions, feasible alternatives must be provided.
He reiterated that the President should have sought input and considered its repercussions on the lives of every Nigerian before making the comment on fuel subsidy.
Repairing the nation’s four refineries and providing transportation alternatives for Nigerian workers were among the alternatives suggested by the NLC president.
Recall that in his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Monday, President Tinubu declared “fuel subsidy is gone” saying the payments could no longer be justified.
He pointed out that in the 2023 budget, there were no funds assigned to fuel subsidies and contended that subsidies were no longer defensible. Rather, Tinubu promised to channel resources towards infrastructural advancement and other sectors focused on strengthening the economy.
Tinubu had said: “We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidies can no longer justify their ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.
“We shall, instead, re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” he said.
Following the President’s announcement, fuel queues have reappeared across the country as Nigerians scramble to obtain the increasingly expensive product.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has supported Tinubu’s stance on fuel subsidy removal. However, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has argued that the President cannot unilaterally make decisions on subsidy removal. They pointed out that the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari deliberately deferred addressing this “sensitive issue” to the new government.