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PIB: limiting fuel imports is against business ethics – TUC

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has frowned at the planned move to limit fuel imports to few operators in the oil and gas industry, saying it is monopolistic and a deliberate attempt to frustrate the challenges the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is intended to solve.

The workers’ body counsels that the market should be left open if the government truly wants to be sincere in addressing the problem of the sector.

The labour chiefs are surprised, dismayed and irritated by the conspiracy to waste another opportunity to fix the sector, noting that from the lawmakers’ position and body language one could infer they are serving the interest of some few individuals to the detriment of the over 97 per cent of the country’s population.

The Congress noted that the country cannot afford to continue toying with the oil and gas sector as it remains the only major source of foreign exchange.

The labour leaders urge lawmakers to rise up and provide true leadership instead of serving the interest of few capitalists. “It is high time these principalities and powers removed their knees from the neck of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

In Africa’s biggest economy, the country’s lawmakers are proposing that importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, be limited to holders of local refining licence.

Read also: Marketers fear PIB removes level playing field in petroleum products importation

Holders of crude oil refining licences in Nigeria include Dangote Oil Refinery Company, Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited, OPAC Refineries, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, BUA Refinery & Petrochemicals and Edo Refinery and Petrochemical Company Limited.

According to the statement, Congress is not against the companies holding refining licences; we are only saying the sector should be left open so the destiny of the country will not be in the hands of a few individuals.

“The pertinent questions are; how well are the products and markets controlled by these few people doing? Why are the lawmakers failing to see the large number of companies and employers that could be created when more investors are allowed to invest? Are these people (lawmakers) not disturbed by the unprecedented insecurity challenge in the country caused by unemployment? How long are these people going to continue to exploit the country,” the statement queried.

The Congress noted that the current move is not only treacherous but also a serious form of corruption.

“We urge them to use their money for the social benefits of all; after all, they enjoy forex largesse financed by Nigerians’ hard-earned oil revenue,” TUC said in a statement signed by its president, Quadri Olaleye and secretary-general, Musa-Lawal Ozigi.

The Congress called on the government, especially the legislative arm to rescind their decision immediately as it would only worsen the problem it is meant to solve.

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