The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged the Federal Government to consider the plight of Nigerians before taking decision on the pump price of petroleum products.
The Secretary-General of TUC, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, who made the appeal, said that government and Labour will soon meet to conclude their discussion on the issue.
The government and labour set up a bipartite committee on petroleum pricing last year following threat by the latter to embark on strike over increase in electricity tariff and petrol. The Technical Committee on Premium Motor Spirit (otherwise known as petrol) Pricing, which was chaired by Onochie Anyaoku, a former Executive Director, Refineries Operations and Petrol Pricing in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, presented its report to the government and organised labour on February 2, 2021 at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
After the report was presented, organised labour asked for two weeks to conduct an independent assessment and investigation of the report.
Ozigi said after an independent probe of the report, labour discovered that part of the template provided for issues that do not exist.
According to him, “if they (government) remove the template, the cost of petroleum products could be lower based on the position we have provided to them.” He added that government can’t increase the pump price of petrol unless all salient issues surrounding the product are resolved.
Ozigi said: “Labour and the Federal Government have been meeting since November last year. The Federal Government brought out its position on the matter and they sent it to us. We studied it and sent it back to the President, the position of Labour on the matter.
“We were supposed to have a meeting to conclude but we have not concluded. The meeting was supposed to hold in second week of April and we are in May and we have not met.
“One thing is very clear: there is no way the government can go on to increase (petrol) unless we resolve all salient issues and those salient issues are set for the next meeting to resolve.”
Ozigi noted that the issue requires a lot of understanding from everybody, including government, labour and the civil society. “We want the government to succeed and we also want the government to understand the current plight of the workers, including the masses. Have things been good for them? That is the question. Surely, I am sure the meeting will come up soon so that we can resolve all the problems. We in Labour unions we have also found out that part of the template provides for issues that do not exist and we have said if they remove them, probably, the petroleum cost could even be lower based on the position we have provided to them. That is why it is necessary for Labour and government to conclude their meeting as soon as possible,” he said.