The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) has described the planned deregulation in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) as a "propaganda targeted at confusing Nigerians."
In a statement made available to journalists on Tuesday, December 29, in Abuja, the general secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson said the move would be resisted by all means adding that affiliate unions under NLC were already being mobilized against the planned deregulation.
The statement reads: “In the past few weeks, we have heard discordant tunes from government officials and chieftains of the ruling APC on what the future portends for the prices of petroleum products and the management of the subsidy scheme.
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“The honourable minister of state for petroleum first announced that come next year the price of petrol will revert to N97 per litre and that subsidy will be phased out. Two days, thereafter, he denied this and stated that what he said was that the price will operate within a band of N87 to N97 and that this did not mean removing the subsidy.
“The same minister now says that the price of petrol will now be N85 in January signifying the deregulation of the sector.These vacillations and flip flops are, in our view, designed to confuse Nigerians and pave the way for deregulation of petrol prices through the back door.
“The fact of the matter is that as long as we continue to depend on imported refined products, deregulation and the abandonment of a subsidy scheme will unleash hardship on Nigerians. In any case, according to our laws, the determination of the recommended prices of petroleum products is the responsibility of the Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
“By law, the board of PPPRA is made up of stakeholders. None of the contradictory prices the minister is throwing up is a product of the agency. Indeed, the board of the PPPRA has not operated for over two years although we have made repeated demands for the convening of the board.
“We call on the government to be guided by the rule of law and constitute and convene the board of PPPRA in accordance with the law without further delay. This will enable the agency to examine and agree a new pricing template based on the realities of today. Any price unilaterally determined and announced by the minister is in violation of the law.”
The minister of state for petroleum and group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu had on Friday, December 25, announced a reduction in the price of Premium Motor Spirit from N87 to N85.