16 September, 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja- Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has restated its resolve to mobilize workers for a nationwide protest if the government goes ahead to abolish fuel subsidies.
The Minister Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had last month dropped hint of the government’s resolve to end fuel subsidies but added that no timeframe has been set for the implementation of this long delayed policy.
But the NLC said in a statement that it was strongly against the removal of subsidies as it would trigger hike in domestic fuel prices and would further impoverish the Nigerian masses.
“In the midst of mass suffering in spite of our huge natural resources and income, it is provocative for government to want to further increase the price of fuel. In fact, this is as good as cruel injustice against the Nigerian people,” the statement quoted NLC president Abdulwaheed Omar saying.
“Nigerians have learnt from the so called deregulation of kerosene and diesel that the deregulation of petrol will only lead to higher prices, non-availability of commodity and its control by a cabal,” it said.
Nigeria has delayed plans to end subsidies on fuel imports, which cost the government more than $4 billion annually, over fears of general strikes by labor and civil society groups who see the subsidies as the main benefit enjoyed by the majority of Nigeria’s 150 million people.
The Federal government is known to be giving a serious thought to the subsidy issue following continued demand from the 36 state governors and the central bank for an end to fuel subsidies to free resources for other development programs.