Subsidy: Labour meeting with FG inconclusive
The meeting between the Federal Government and the organised labour over the issue of subsidy removal has ended without any resolution.
The meeting called on the instance of the Federal Government at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was to find a solution to the brewing crisis over effect of subsidy removal and the hike in petroleum pump price.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting on Wednesday, President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero said that “as far as we are concerned there was no consensus.”
He said the principle of negotiation was for the government and the NNPCL to revert to status, adding that, “you don’t ask to negotiate under gun point.”
On the demands of the organised labour, Ajaero said, “We should go back to status quo, negotiate, think of the alternatives and all the effects and how many of the effects this action will have on the people if it is an action that must take off.”
He said that the subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June and rhetorically asked, “why is it now. Last administration made it up to end of June. Why can’t we respect the sanctity of even that law that provided that expenditure up to June.”
On the claim by the Federal Government that there is no money to continue with the subsidy, Ajaero flanked by the President of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Festus Osifo said, “what is the purpose of governance, is it the duty of NLC to raise funds for the government, collect tax, to sell crude at the international market when the price of crude is going high and the government that is a major importer of crude product is telling you there is no money.
“Other countries that are in the same scenario are eating fat.”
Asked whether it is realistic to continue with the payment of subsidy the NLC President said, “why do you keep on hampering on subsidy, what do you understand about subsidy, has anybody explained to you the meaning of subsidy, what did they say is subsidy?
“Is there any country even in the US there is subsidy on wheat product, is there any country that does not subsidise living of people even if it is by providing public transportation, those are the issues we are looking at.
“If you are a major producer of crude and you refine or carry the crude abroad and refine and bring it, definitely there will be difference in the price and that is what they are paying.
“If your father established a refinery and that refinery dies in your hand and you are now refining abroad, you ask yourself some questions. We have refineries in Kaduna, Sapele, Warri and Port Harcourt, why are they not functioning that we have to go and refine abroad, the transportation money, refining cost at international price or rate and bring it back here and the same government pays the difference in cost of what it is here and what is internationally, that is what they are telling you about .”