Oil workers want FG to be wary of IMF’s advice

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Workers in the oil and gas sector have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to shun any counsel that will destabilise or cause chaos in the economy.

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) gave the advice in a statement in Lagos.

Recall that the managing director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, on April 12 called on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy because of low revenue mobilisation that existed in terms of tax to Gross Domestic Product.

But the oil workers in the statement signed by Okugbawa Lumumba, PENGASSAN general secretary and Afolabi Olawale, NUPENG general secretary, said that the IMF advice on how to recover Nigeria’s economy was worrisome and could be counterproductive.

“Any economic policy that is devoid of human feelings can lead to more social dislocations and upheavals which will later become counterproductive as currently experienced,’’ they contended.

They noted that IMF has created panic in the country with associated hoarding of petroleum products, panic buying, skyrocketed increases in prices of goods and services in the country.

The union leaders said that earlier, the IMF chief praised the significant progress the nation has made in terms of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that increased by 1.9 per cent in 2018 from 0.8 per cent in 2017.

The observed that IMF was not considering the pains and agonies Nigerians went through to achieve the gains of 2018, with almost two-thirds of the world’s hungriest people, among the Nigerians.

They further said that imposing more stringent reforms in domestic revenue mobilization including increase in VAT and securing more domestic oil revenues through subsidy removal was an attempt to destabilise the nation.

The unions appealed to Buhari to put in mind the current hardship Nigerians are going through in their collective journey to economic recovery.

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