• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

NNPC pricing template is tantamount to ambush — NLC

Joe Ajaero

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the new petrol pricing template released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), saying the action coming amid ongoing dialogue with stakeholders to resolve the subsidy removal crisis, is tantamount to an “ambush”.

Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC, in a statement on Wednesday, said the congress was worried that despite the ongoing meeting of stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to manage the “unilateral but unfortunate” announcement by the president to withdraw subsidy on petroleum petrol, went ahead to announce a new regime of prices.

“This is an ambush and runs against the spirit and principles of social dialogue which remains the best platform available for the resolution of all the issues arising out of the petroleum downstream sector,” NLC said.

“The government cannot in one breath be talking about deregulation and at the same time fixing the prices of petroleum products. This negates the spirit of allowing the operation of the free market unless the government has as usual usurped, captured or become market forces.”

The NLC said this ‘ambush’ was unacceptable and ‘we seriously condemn it.’

The NLC noted that good faith negotiation was key to reaching an agreement, stressing that what the government had done was like holding a gun to the head of the Nigerian people and bringing undue pressure on the leaders thus undermining the dialogue.

NLC said: “We call on the Federal Government to immediately instruct the NNPC to withdraw this vexatious pricing template to allow free flow of discussions by the parties. Nigerians would not accept any manipulations of any kind from any of the parties, especially from the representatives of the government.

“Our commitment to this process is buoyed by the fact that all the parties would be committed to ensuring that it is carried out within the ambits of liberty without undue pressure. The release of that template may not allow us to continue if nothing is done to withdraw it so that the dialogue can continue unhindered. It is clear that the government is actually trying to scuttle the process.

“As it stands, the Federal Government has become fixated on their chosen course of action. Would this help this dialogue? It clearly will not. There must be flexibility to allow concessions and reasonable accommodation that will produce the best result for the Nigerian people. This is what we all seek at this time.”

BusinessDay reports that a document that purportedly emanated from the NNPCL on Wednesday as a new pricing template, showed that petrol in Borno State will for N557 per litre, while in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Ekiti, it will sell for N488, N537, N520, and N500 per litre respectively.

Confirming the price hike, the NNPC said it adjusted the pump prices of PMS across its retail outlets in line with current market realities.

The statement read, “As we strive to provide you with the quality service for which we are known, it is pertinent to note that prices will continue to fluctuate to reflect market dynamics. We assure you that NNPC Limited is committed to ensuring a ceaseless supply of products.

“The company sincerely regrets any inconvenience this development may have caused.

“We greatly appreciate your continued patronage, support, and understanding during this time of change and growth.”