12 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC (Rivers State Chapter) has condemned in its entirety and reject the purported removal of fuel subsidy.
It also rejected the introduction of deregulation of the downstream sector which the union described as lacking any appropriate legal framework.
TUC River State Council chairman, comrade Hyginus Chika Onuegbu in a statement said the fixing of outrageous ‘cut-throat’ prices for petroleum products at a time Nigerian are passing through excruciating economic hardship is uncalled for.
He added that “we are tempted by the underhanded manner the purported fuel subsidy was removed to believe that government deliberately created a huge supply gap and subjected Nigerians to months of buying petroleum products at outrageous prices so as to justify the removal of fuel subsidy as a solution to the current fuel price debacle.
“Besides, we drew the attention of the government to the fact that there is no provision for petroleum subsidy in the 2016 budget and sought to know the plan of government, and we were variously assured by the government that there was no plan for deregulation or removal of fuel subsidy.
“We therefore respectfully call on the National Secretariat of the TUC Nigeria to convene an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Trade union Congress of Nigeria on this and other burning issues such as the continued disobedience of Court Order on the 45 percent hike in electricity tariff.
“We want to state very clearly that every country in the world has one form of subsidy or the other. So the issue is not about subsidy but how it is managed, the costs and benefits of the subsidy to the country. Moreover, a good percentage of the figures being bandied around as cost of fuel subsidy is actually the cost of corruption in the fuel subsidy management process,” Onuegbu said.
He maintained that the removal of subsidy is more about transferring the burden of the payment for the corruption in the subsidy scheme from the government to the ordinary people.