Fuel subsidy: Govs move to abort nationwide strike, meet labour leaders


Governors of the 36 states of the federation Thursday resolved to engage the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the proposed N302 new fuel pump price.

The TUC, however, said it would meet and take a position on the matter Thursday.

Speaking to journalists at the end of their meeting in Abuja, which started Wednesday night and ended in the early hours of Thursday, Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti state Governor Kayode Fayemi said the engagement would address the issue without causing disaffection.

The National Economic Council (NEC) had recommended an increase in the pump price of fuel to N302 per litre, a far cry from between N162 and N165 per litre the commodity is sold in the country.

Blueprint gathered that the move is part of effort to allow for fuel deregulation of the prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), and eliminate monthly subsidy payments with provisions to ensure fair competition in the market, a development that is in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Speaking on the matter, Governor Fayemi said: “The governors discussed issues around fuel subsidy removal and concluded to engage the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to address the issue without causing any disaffection but with a view to salvaging the Nigerian economy for Nigerian people at the end of the day.

“So, we will be engaging the NLC as sub-national leaders and with a view to ensuring that the outcome of our engagement will also be fair to the national discourse.

“The report is not from the governors. The National Economic Council chaired by the Vice President of Nigeria has been dealing with this issue over time and really, it is not up to sub-national to decide on what happens to fuel price. However, we are critical stakeholders so we contribute to debate on economic council.”

The governors also commended the Senate for “accelerating the removal of the contentious clause in the draft electoral bill and hope the House of Representatives will also follow suit so that the revised electoral bill can return to Mr. President for assent.”

NEC decides June

In a related development, the National Economic Council (NEC) said any decision on the removal of petrol subsidy would be taken in June when the provision for its payment in the 2022 budget expires.

The NEC said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited must be run differently as a limited liability company that it is now.

Nasarawa state Governor Abdulahi Sule said this Thursday while responding to questions from State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said it was understandable that the provision for the payment of the subsidy was made in the 2022 budget only until June.
Governor Sule, who was joined at the post-NEC press briefing by his Edo state counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, said the NEC was yet to take a position on it despite its series of deliberations on the matter.

Obaseki, while reacting to questions, said the PMS which sells for N162-165 per liter in Nigeria, sells a hundred percent higher in other countries.

He said the federal government was spending about N2 trillion on petroleum subsidy, an amount, he said could have been used for other purposes.

Obaseki said the NEC, therefore, wondered whether that should be allowed to continue in a situation where he observed only two thirds of the states of the federation consumed the subsidy.