Lagos — The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has called on the Federal Government to allow market forces determine the pump price of petroleum products.
Deputy President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero in a statement said not allowing market forces determine prices is equal to price fixing, which is detrimental to development of the downstream sector.
According to him, government must make the country’s refineries work before deregulating the downstream sector.
He said: “Is deregulation synonymous to price increase? If you say you are deregulating you allow market forces to determine. Why is the government saying petrol will sell at a particular price? That is equally price Fixing.
“It is complicit for any Head of that corporation to be telling us what it will cost (to buy petrol) when they deregulate.
“If what we understood from inception that deregulation will be left for market forces; it (price of petrol) can come down, it can go up. So why is he fixing a price?
“It then means there is something that meets the eye in the whole process.
“We at NLC have said that the refineries must work as a pre-condition. We didn’t say you deregulate and start to build refineries. It will not happen if they (government) first deregulate before fixing the refineries.”
His reaction comes on the heels of a statement credited to Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, when he said price of petrol could hit N300 per litre once the petroleum industry bill, PIB becomes a law.
However on Monday, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva assured that the federal government will not increase without carrying along organised labour.
The National Administrative Council of the NLC will meet tomorrow to take an official position on the bill which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.