02 January 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Monday decried the removal of subsidy on fuel importation, describing the move as a show of government’s huge credibility deficit.
According to a statement signed by the PENGASSAN’s National Publicity Secretary, Zaid Kolawole, and made available to the press, the association said its organs will be meeting soon to finalise strategies to effectively launch a protest against the decision by government.
“PENGASSAN rejects as totally unacceptable and a crass display of bad faith the unilateral increase in the pump price of petrol by the government in the guise of subsidy removal,” the statement noted.
It added that the action was “a reinforcement of the government’s huge credibility deficit that only a few days after the Minister of Finance stated publicly that no date had been fixed for the so-called subsidy removal and that government would further consult with all stakeholders, the same government through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) could turn around on new year’s day and increase petrol prices stating unashamedly that this latest round of fuel price increase follows ‘extensive consultation with stakeholders’.
“Perhaps holding a town-hall meeting is now tantamount to extensive consultation.”
According to the statement, the PPPRA Executive Secretary should tell Nigerians when the Board of the agency of which we are a statutory member met to decide on this policy knowing fully well that the Board is yet to be reconstituted
It added, “It is very unfortunate that the only ‘gift’ government can give to long-suffering Nigerians in this new year and season of goodwill is the poisoned chalice of fuel price increase.
“Already marketers are already inflicting hardship on Nigerians by shutting fuel stations to create artificial scarcity while the few that are open are selling the same product they bought at ‘subsidized’ rates at ridiculously high prices.”
The Association further reiterated its resolution at its last NEC meeting in Warri, Delta State on November 30, 2011 that government puts in place certain irreducible minimums and reduce its recurrent expenditure by at least 25% before contemplating any removal of subsidy.
“We insist that government exists for the people and their welfare and security should be its paramount concern. Our government should therefore work for us and not the IMF and World Bank,” it stated.
It noted that the organs of the Association will be meeting soon to finalise plans and strategies to ensure that government reverses this patently anti-people policy.
“We therefore urge all Nigerians to gird their loins and begin immediate mobilisation for the struggle ahead aimed at ensuring that this exploitative policy designed to further impoverish Nigerian workers and masses does not stand,” it said.