Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has kicked against the announcement by the Federal Government through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to marketers that the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol should now sell for N143.80.
Labour asked the Federal Government to revert to the old price of N123.50 per litre.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba stated this yesterday in a statement in Abuja.
He described as “grand mischief and deceit” the decision of the government to hike petrol price just when the ban on interstate movement has been lifted.
Wabba said Nigerians have “groaned to pay these unjust costs for years,” noting that this latest increase “might just be the last straw that would break the camel’s back.”
“We demand that the Federal Government reverts to the old price of petroleum especially given the fact that price of crude oil in the international market has only slightly increased from the previous price before the so-called downward review was announced two months ago,” Wabba said.
According to him, there should be a national conversation on the management of oil assets which must be in tandem with the provisions of the country’s constitution which clearly mandates that the commanding heights of national economy must be held by the government in the interest of the citizens of Nigeria.
He called for the fixing of the four national petroleum refineries without any further delay adding that Nigerian workers want to be appraised of the timeline set by government to ensure that this is effectively done.
“The standard of living is still low in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have observed that the price of PMS determines the price of other commodities in the country.
“Now that there is a 16. 4 per cent increase in the pump price of PMS, prices of goods and services are sure to increase.
“We are appealing that the government should look inward and come up with better strategies on how to keep the petroleum sector booming during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A commercial bus driver, Mr Timothy Osaro said that the government should have given citizens more time to enjoy the reduction in pump price of PMS.
Osaro said the earlier reduction showed that the government cared about the welfare of its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we heard the reduction in the pump price in April and subsequent reduction in June, it brought relief to us because we were finding it difficult to make profit during the partial lockdown in the state.
“We were not expecting this increment because there is still hardship in the country.
“The filling stations have already adjusted to the new pump price of N143 per litre. But when there was a reduction it took some stations two to three days to adjust,” he said.
A petty trader, Mrs Tina Omage, who also expressed dissatisfaction with the pump price increment, appealed to transport operators to ease the burden on commuters.
“We are appealing to transport operators not to increase their transportation fares because of this new increase in pump price.
“We are aware that transport operators have already increased fares due to reduction in the number of passengers they are to convey to checkmate spread of Covid 19.
“The Federal Government should reconsider this move and let the masses continue to enjoy the former pump price of N123.50 per litre of PMS.”
Mrs Vera Emeka, a housewife told NAN that the increment would affect the upkeep money given to her on a weekly basis as well as increase prices of food stuff.
“We have been having epileptic power in our area and I could conveniently buy fuel to run my generator for four hours to preserve my food in the fridge on a daily basis with the N123 pump price.
“I don’t know why the government has to increase the pump price now because it will affect my house’s budget and might lead to increase in prices of food stuff too.”
NAN reports that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had in a memo released on July 1, fixed the pump price band of PMS also known as petrol at between N140.80 and N143.80 per litre for the month of July.