2022 outlook: Experts want economy revamped, citizens’ welfare prioritised
The labour union, in its New Year message to Nigerian workers, also decried “missed opportunities and haemorrhaging of potential revenue occasioned by the government’s dismal handling of the current negative narrative in the downstream petroleum sub-sector.”
In the statement signed by its president, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC specifically faulted the renege of the agreement with the government in September 2020, that any further increase in pump price should be shelved until both (government and labour) undertake a review of the state of local refineries among others.
According to the labour union, the perennial increase in pump price is a transfer of government failure and inability to effectively govern the country, and queried why the government cannot rein in smuggling and empirically determine the quantity of petrol consumed in the country. What angered the union most was the failure of the Buhari-led government to successfully refurbish any of the ailing four refineries nearly seven years after assuming office, while also revealing that a technical committee set up by the government was designed to fail ab initio. The NLC said: “As we all know, the work of the technical committee, like our abandoned public refineries, has grounded to a halt and further negotiations with government adjourned sine die for nearly one year now. As a responsible social partner, we have at different times called on the government to show us what they are doing in response to our demands but silence is the response we get.” The NLC alleged that having spent a humongous $9.5b on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) and other interventions between 2012 and 2021, the country has nothing to show for it. “The tragedy is that despite these humongous investments of public funds, the government continues to present the crisis of mass importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria and the consequent import-based pricing regime of refined petroleum products as a fait accompli,” it added.