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NLC Says, “We Shall Resist This Increase In Petrol Price

The Nigerian Labour Congress
on Wednesday said it would
resist the federal
government’s scrapping of
fuel subsidy and increase of
petrol price to about N145 per
litre.
“The unilateral increase in
prices of petroleum products
today by government
represents the height of
insensitivity and impunity and
shall be resisted by the
Nigeria Labour Congress and
its civil society allies,” the
congress said, through a
statement by its General
Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson.
The statement added, “With
the imposition on the citizenry
of criminal and unjustifiable
electricity tariff and resultant
darkness and other economic
challenges brought on by the
devaluation of the Naira and
spiraling inflation, the least
one had expected at this point
in time was another policy
measure that would further
make life more miserable for
the ordinary Nigerian.
“The latest increase is the
most audacious and cruel in
the history of product price
increase as It represents not
only about 80 per cent
increase but it is tied to the
black market exchange rate.
“Further more, the process
through which government
arrived at this is both illogical
and illegal as the board of the
PPPRA is not duly
constituted. In our previous
statements and communiques,
we had stressed the need for
reconstituting the boards of
NNPC and PPPRA and wean
both away from the
overbearing influence of the
Minister of State for
Petroleum Resources who has
assumed the role of a Sole
Administrator.
“The allusion to the fact that
the this increase was arrived
at after due consultation with
stake holders is not only
ridiculous and fallacious, it
goes to show that the brief
meeting held today during
which government was
advised shelve the idea until
at least it meets with the
appropriate organs of the
Congress was in bad faith.
“Accordingly, we urge the
government to revert the
prices to what they were. We
would want to put everybody
on notice that we shall resist
this criminal increase with
every means legitimate.
“Already an emergency NEC
meeting has been scheduled
for Friday, May 13, 2016 to
decide on the next line of
action. Meanwhile, our
affiliates, state councils and
civil society allies are
requested to commence
mobilization immediately.”
Why fuel price became
necessary
Why labour is kicking,
Petroleum Products Pricing
Regulatory Agency (PPPRA)
was explaining why the
deregulation of the
downstream sector and the
hike in fuel price was
inevitable.
Acting Executive Secretary of
the agency, Sotonye Iyoyo,
said the new price, which
reflected a hike by about 67.6
per cent from the previous
N86.50 per litre, was to help
marketers overcome
difficulties they were facing in
fuel importation.
The N86.50 was the official
fixed price by government
under the now defunct
subsidy regime.
Under the subsidy regime, the
government paid the
difference between the
landing cost of fuel, including
the marketers’ and
distributors’ margins, and the
fixed retail price to enable
fuel to be sold at N86 per litre
at NNPC-owned mega
stations, and N86.50 per litre
in other filling stations.
With the take-off of the
deregulation policy, the
federal government has
formally removed subsidy
from the PPPRA pricing
template.
The Minister of State for
Petroleum Resources, Ibe
Kachikwu, who announced the
policy change, said
deregulation was introduced
in order to increase and
stabilize the supply of
petroleum products in the
country.
Mr. Kachikwu said any
Nigerian entity with the right
capacity was now free to
import and market fuel in the
country, subject to existing
quality specifications and
other guidelines issued by
PPPRA.
“All oil marketers will be
allowed to import PMS
(premium motor spirit) on the
basis of FOREX (foreign
exchange) procured from
secondary sources and
accordingly PPPRA template
will reflect this in the pricing
of the product.
The PPPRA, the government
agency responsible for
moderating petroleum product
pricing in the petroleum
industry, explained that the
review of the fuel price
became necessary in view of
the difficulties petroleum
products marketers usually
encounter in sourcing for
FOREX.
“This review became
imperative in the face of
extreme difficulties faced by
petroleum product importers
in sourcing foreign exchange,”
the executive secretary said
in Abuja.
Mrs. Iyoyo, who also
announced the second quarter
price modulation framework,
which debuted on January 1,
2016, said it was aimed at
ensuring a ‘fit-for-all’
approach in the interest of the
Nigerian consumers,
marketers and the economy.
She said the new framework
approved a new price band
for PMS at a maximum of
N145 per litre in other filling
stations, while NNPC retail
stations would sell at a lower
price.
To meet the country’s
consumption demand, the
PPPRA official said fuel
importers would henceforth be
permitted to source for
foreign exchange from
secondary sources outside the
Central Bank of Nigeria,
CBN’s rate of N197 and N199
to the dollar.
Mrs. Iyoyo, who said the
agency was conscious of the
difficulties Nigerians were
facing in the last few months,
explained that the PPPRA
would continue to modulate
pricing in accordance with
prevailing market dynamics to
ensure fair value to all.
Meanwhile, shortly before the
formal announcement, there
were long queues at filling
stations in Abuja and environs
as anxious motorists tried
frantically to buy fuel at the
price of N86.50 pending when
the filing stations would
adjust their pumps to reflect
the new price.

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