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We’re Opposed To Importation Of Petrol – NLC Tells APC

NLC
THEWILL APP ADS 2

September 18, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has reiterated its opposition to the withdrawal of subsidies on petroleum products, insisting that the country’s refineries must work.

The labour union was responding to questions from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over its support for Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP)

THEWILL reported that the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), challenged the leadership of the NLC and supporters of the LP to come clean on their stand on Peter Obi’s vow to remove fuel subsidy if elected president in 2023.

The Spokesperson of the PCC, Festus Keyamo, had in a statement on Saturday, said Nigerians deserve to know whether NLC supports and promotes a policy that the leadership of labour opposed, when it was adopted by the APC-led federal government, saying they cannot be blowing hot and cold.

However, the NLC said it believes that the only way to address the issue of the so-called petrol subsidies is to get the country’s refineries to work.

According to the NLC, what was contained in the Workers Charter of Demands mainstreamed into the Manifesto of the Labour Party (LP) is that the organised labour will not support any government’s policy that seeks to make the country continue to depend on the import of petroleum products at atrocious cost when they can easily be produced at home.

“A major demand in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands is that our local public refineries must work. We have also demanded that we must stop 100 percent importation of refined petroleum products”, he said.

The statement said that the labour movement in Nigeria has been vehemently consistent and that the only way to address the issue of the so-called petrol subsidies is to get our refineries to work.

“The logic is very simple: it is atrocious to buy from abroad at very expensive prices a product that a country like ours can easily produce at home.

“At the heart of our demand on the management of Nigeria’s mineral resources especially our downstream petroleum subsector is the issue of production economy”, he said.

NLC said that in furtherance of its avowed position on issue-based campaign in the run-up to the 2023 general election, “we wish to state that Nigerian workers through several painstaking processes have been able to articulate a Nigerian Workers’ Charter of Demands which the NLC and TUC are using to engage the political process.

“A major demand in the Nigerian Workers Charter of Demands is that our local public refineries must work. We have also demanded that we must stop 100 percent importation of refined petroleum products.

“If any political party goes around saying that they plan to sell our refineries, remove subsidies, and further oppress long-suffering Nigerians, they should be ready to defend such stance to Nigerians during the campaigns. The NLC, Organised Labour, and Labour Party position has not changed. It only got amplified.”

It added that the organised labour believes that rescuing Nigeria from the current ruinous path of consumption economy to production economy, “is the only way to resolve Nigeria’s economic nightmares of massive depletion of scarce foreign exchange reserve; continuous devaluation of the naira; significant jobs haemorrhage and destruction, deepening of poverty and downturn in the living standards of our people”, NLC explained.

On the retreat held at the behest of the Labour Party, the statement said Labour Party and organised labour in Nigeria adopted and mainstreamed the Workers Charter of Demands into the Manifesto of the Labour Party.

NLC commended the APC campaign Spokesman for dwelling on issues rather than the destructive lines of the ethnoreligious divide that fuels political tension.

“First, we wish to commend the Minister of State for Labour for responding positively to earlier calls by the Nigeria Labour Congress that political parties must focus their engagement on the current electoral cycle campaigns on issue-based politics.

“We believe that an issue-based campaign will help sieve the facts from fiction, address burning national issues, review the performance of those in government at all levels, especially on the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, improve Nigeria’s public accountability frameworks, prepare voters behaviour on Election Day away from the destructive lines of ethnoreligious divide and defuse the looming political tension.”