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NNPC price increase: NLC calls for immediate withdrawal

…says unacceptable, an ambush

Bimbola Oyesola

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said the new price increase template announced by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was unacceptable and should be withdraw immediately.
Describing it as an ambush that runs against the spirit and principles of Social Dialogue, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero said the federal government should immediately instruct the NNPC to withdraw “this vexatious Pricing template to allow free flow of discussions by the parties.”
Ajaero warned that Nigerians would not accept any manipulations of any kind from any of the parties especially from the representatives of the Government.
“We are worried that the Government through the NNPC despite the ongoing meeting of Stakeholders in the oil and Gas sector to manage the unilateral but unfortunate announcement by the President to withdraw subsidy on petroleum products, went ahead this morning to announce a new regime of prices under a new pricing template,” he said
According to Ajaero the action is considered as an ambush and runs against the spirit and principles of Social Dialogue which he said remains the best platform available for the resolution of all the issues arising out of the petroleum Down-stream sector.
He said government cannot in one breathe be talking about deregulation and at the same time fixing the prices of Petroleum products.
“This negates the spirit of allowing the operation of the free market unless the government has as usual usurped, captured or become Market forces,” he stated.
The NLC president insisted that the NNPC act is unacceptable and Organised labour seriously condemn it. He added that good faith negotiation is key to reaching agreement.
He said, “What the government has done is like holding a gun to the head of Nigerian people and bring undue pressure on the leaders thus undermine the dialogue.”
He noted that labour commitment to the negotiation process is buoyed on the fact that all the parties would be committed to ensuring that it is carried out within the ambits of liberty without undue pressure.
But lamented that the release of that template may not allow labour to continue if nothing is done to withdraw it so that the dialogue can continue unhindered.
He added, “It is clear that Government is actually trying to scuttle the process.
“As it stands, the federal government has become fixated on their chosen course of action. Would this help this dialogue? It clearly will not.
“There must be flexibility to allow concessions and reasonable accommodation that will produce the best result for Nigerian people. This is what we all seek at this time.”

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