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Right Time To Decide Nigeria’s Refining Capacity —NLC

The National Economic Council, NEC, yesterday suspended the planned removal of subsidy on petroleum products by the end of May by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Reacting to the development the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said government should use the window to develop a timeline-based road map to restore Nigeria’s refining capacity.

NLC’s General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, said: “It is the right thing to do. It is ironic that the government, at last, is showing concern for the people.

‘’This is a decision that should have been taken long ago. Well, it is not bad that the government in its last days has repented and becomes aware that Nigerians have been suffering.

“We believe this should give the government the time to restore the nation’s refining capacity. This suspension should give the government opportunity to decide on a timeline-based road map to restore our refining capacity. That is the only thing Nigerian masses are looking forward to and nothing else.”

On its part, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, said it was commendable for government to decide to nowlisten to the voice of reason and suspend the planned subsidy removal.

TUC’s Secretary General, Nuhu Toro, who spoke for the union, said: “It has vindicated us because we had told Nigerians that we were not a party to the planned subsidy removal.

‘’We were never consulted and we told the public the truth. The planned removal was a unilateral decision that could have done no good to anybody.

‘’The truth is that the so-called planned subsidy removal was ill-timed and anti-people. If the government now decides to change its mind and listen to the voice of reason, there is nothing wrong with that.’’

Also reacting yesterday, the Director, Centre for the Promotion of Private enterprise, CPPE, Dr. Muda Yusuf, said the issue of petroleum subsidy removal should be left to the incoming government to handle.

He stated: “CPPE’s view is that all matters relating to petrol subsidy removal should be left for the incoming administration to handle.

“This should be the default position since the current government has announced a budgetary provision for fuel subsidy up till June 2023. This is also the position of the Petroleum industry Act as amended. Rather than stir another round of controversy and confusion, the matter ought to be left for the new administration. The NEC announcement was really unnecessary.

“The expectation is that the new administration should have its strategy of managing the policy transition. This should not be preempted by the current administration. The NEC should avoid making policy pronouncement that may create problems for the new administration. I also expect that some level of informal consultation should have commenced between the transition team of the incoming administration and key stakeholders on the matter.

“The APC had categorically stated that it would remove petrol subsidy on assumption of office, although it had not unveiled its strategy of doing so.”


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