Lagos — The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers, NUPENG has condemned advice by Presidential Economic Advisory Committee, PEAC on subsidy removal, describing it as “suicidal”.
General Secretary, NUPENG, Olawale Afolabi, in a reaction said implementing the advice would further endanger the poor masses, citing the current bad economic situation of Nigeria.
“Within the current context of hardship in the country, it is suicidal to remove subsidy now. It is highly suicidal within the current situation,” he said.
The group’s reaction comes following PEAC advice that President Muhammadu Buhari should remove subsidy on petrol and adopt a pricing regime that reflects the cost of the commodity.
According to him, NUPENG supports full deregulation of the downstream oil industry devoid of petroleum product imports.
“Deregulation is desirable in the downstream sector but we cannot deregulate within the context of importation. We have always been saying that domestic production is the way to go.
“So you cannot base our deregulation on the importation of products. It is like selling our employment opportunities and throwing away our resources. We’ve been telling government for years now, make sure that domestic production and refining of the product is on, then you can deregulate,” he said.
Explaining further he said, deregulation would bring about more investment and increased business activities.
“It will engender increased business activities in the downstream sector but it should not be based on importation of products. You should deregulate within the context of local refining.”
He however said removal of fuel subsidy can succeed only alongside local refining.
“…absence of local refineries means that the advice (of the PEAC) is wrong. The advice is not applicable now.
“And for emphasis, within the context of the current hardship in the country you cannot remove subsidy at this period,” he said.