NLC, CSOs, PDP Reject Fuel, Electricity Hike, say People Have Become Poorer

NLC, CSOs, PDP Reject Fuel, Electricity Hike, say People Have Become Poorer

…Insist Buhari Administration Has Lost Touch with Common People …Govt Working for the Citizens, Not for Few Interest…APC   The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the country’s leading opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have condemned the increase in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol from N148.50 to N151.56

…Insist Buhari Administration Has Lost Touch with Common People

…Govt Working for the Citizens, Not for Few Interest…APC  

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the country’s leading opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have condemned the increase in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol from N148.50 to N151.56 per litre. They also argue that this is against the backdrop of 100 per cent increase in electricity and reduction in interest in savings account, which will adversely affect the poor.

Reacting to the increase in the price of fuel on Wednesday in Abuja, NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba said Nigerians and even the NLC are shocked about the increase which is coming at a time when many Nigerians are passing through very peculiar and precarious times.

The Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) in a statement had announced that the new product price adjustment takes effect from September 2. A similar increase was effected from N143.50 to N148.50 per litre, just about a month ago.

The different electricity distributing companies also announced a hike in electricity prices which took effect from September 1. Not done, Multichoice, distributors of Pay TV content announced an increase in the different categories for DSTV and GoTV while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reduced the interest for savings account.

Frowning at what he considered as an affront on the people, Wabba said, “It is like Nigerians are being taken for a ride, the increase in price of petroleum is like adding salt to injury.

“The increase in price of petroleum has happened now more than three times in three months, only yesterday they hiked the tariff of electricity,” he miffed.

The NLC president said that to compound the issue, the CBN also reduced the interest rate of savings which affects mostly the poor and the vulnerable.

“The organised labour therefore rejects the increase in price of the product in the strongest terms.”

According to him, at the end of the day, Nigerians are becoming poorer and poorer, in fact, many people are already on the edge. Many workers are already on the edge.

“Certainly, we cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony, and we will have to call our organs and we will have to also react but we reject it in its entirety.

“They have betrayed the trust of Nigerians, for Nigerians to be protected against the economic challenge that is affecting us,” he said,

Also echoing the view of the NLC, ActionAid Nigeria on Thursday condemned the new hike in fuel prices, saying the development will leave more Nigerians poorer.

Country Director, Ms Ene Obi in a statement, said with the effects of Covid19 putting Nigerians out of job; increase in the fuel price becomes an additional burden on an average Nigerians.

According to her, “We are not out of COVID-19, a lot of citizens are losing their jobs, people are getting poorer, more responsibility with school closure, young people roaming the streets unemployed and fuel hike at this time is shocking.

“Governance is about easing the pain and burden of the common man, but it seems the Nigerian government is not in touch with the reality on ground.

“We are dealing with too many increases at the same time and this is introducing so much inflation into our lives. Governance is about the people.

” Instead of dealing with insecurity, we are taking actions that will further heighten insecurity because as the inflations go up and more people are plunged into poverty, there will be more conflict in our society.

“With the volume of energy we have in the country, it is disappointing that we are still not refining crude locally,” she noted.

The organization said it will liaise with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and relevant stakeholders to amplify the voices and demands of the common man, stressing that the fuel hike is a disappointing move at this time.

Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Mr Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, said, “The decision is wicked. This is not the right time to increase petrol pump price because it will lead to high prices of goods and services. The government should stop this price increase immediately and be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

“They are to be considerate and not to overburden the people with unnecessary increase of pump price. Countries are working hard to reduce suffering of their citizens with infrastructure and palliatives while our government is not looking at that direction. This is seriously unfair and unacceptable.

The Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project SERAP, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “I don’t understand what this government is up to and don’t believe that all the steps it has taken in recent times are for the interest of Nigerian people. Nigerian people have been traumatized with deliberate policies.

“I don’t know what they want Nigerians to benefit. Their policies are directed and targeted to pauperize Nigerians. I want to be sure what the government is up to. We will speak to other organizations and plan on how we will reply the government on what they have done. The government should suspend this price increase now,” he contends.

Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, said, “Clearly, this order by the government to increase prices of petroleum and electricity affirms is unfortunate and disappointing. It’s indicative of a government that cares less about the welfare of its people.

“This anti-welfarist policy should be rejected. When will government subsidize for its people. Nigerians are still grappling with the harsh impact of the Coronavirus virus pandemic and is imposing increased tariff?

“If government cuts down its expenditure, abolish security votes and block leakages in the system it can generate a great amount of the resources required to fund our development. The people must not always pay.” Itodo argued.

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, also rejected the new fuel price and hike in electricity tariff.

“The PDP vehemently rejects the fresh increase in the price of fuel to N151 per litre and electricity tariff to N66 per kwh under the APC and its government,” Ologbondiyan said, demanding for a reversal of the prices to avert what he called a national crisis.

According to him, the increase will result in upsurge in costs of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians.

But the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has however called on the PDP to wake up to a new Nigeria where the government works for the citizens and not for a few interests.

Mr Yekini Nabena, the party’s deputy national publicity secretary who made the call in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the decision to increase the fuel pump price and the hike in electricity tariff was in the best interest of all.

“The attention of the APC has been drawn to a shameless statement by PDP on the current petrol price and electricity tariff in the country.

Nabena recalled that successive PDP governments had foisted on the country a corruption tainted fuel subsidy regime.

He called on the PDP to surprise itself and Nigerians by cajoling its cronies who ran the subsidy rackets, adding that many of them were in hiding abroad.

The APC deputy national publicity secretary stressed that the PDP should cajole such persons to return “our stolen commonwealth in their possession.’’

He said that under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, the tortuous fuel queues as a result of biting scarcities were gone.

According to Nabena, the reviewed petroleum products pricing template by the APC-led administration has resulted in a more transparent, efficient and realistic pricing system for petroleum products.

He said it had also resulted in constant availability of fuel nationwide.

“The pricing template now reflects competitive and market driven components which is supported by the citizenry.

“In an effort by this administration to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity, President Buhari recently directed a nationwide mass metering programme for electricity consumers in the country,” he said.

Nabena said unlike the APC, the PDP was only concerned with pushing the interests of its few cronies over the general interest and welfare of the citizenry, adding that the APC, however, did not expect the PDP to grasp the import of this landmark presidential directive.

He explained that apart from improving electricity and service delivery, the directive was also aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable Nigerians from increased electricity tariff, arbitrary and estimated billings.

“Commendably, the Federal Government is already working to ensure that Electricity Distribution Companies commit to increasing the number of hours of electricity supply every day and also improve on their quality of service,” Nabena said.

He said that the PDP might also be unaware that the Federal Government had approved a one year waiver of import levy on electricity meters, explaining that this was to ensure that Nigerians who do not have meters could be supplied as early as possible at a reasonable cost.

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