• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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BusinessDay

Subsidy: Tinubu, labour leaders, others hold crucial meeting

EU-EOM is right! Tinubu is president through a tainted poll

President Bola Tinubu has summoned a meeting with Labour leaders and major stakeholders in the Nigeria petroleum sector to address the brewing crises over government decisions to end years of petroleum subsidy in the country.

The President had earlier today met behind closed doors with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Mele Kyari and Farouk Ahmed, Chief Executive of Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA), over the reemergence of long fuel queues, following government’s decision to end fuel subsidy.

Kyari, while speaking with State House journalists after the meeting, revealed that the Federal government is owing the organization N2.8t, being money expended on fuel subsidy, by the NNPCL.

Read also: Fuel subsidy crisis: Tonye Cole urges Tinubu to discuss more with labour

BusinessDay gathered late on Tuesday that the President had summoned a meeting of the leaders of Trade Union Congress( TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) for a crucial meeting.

The meeting which was earlier fixed for 6pm at the Villa, was later shifted to the President’s private residence at Asokoro and rescheduled for 8pm.

BusinessDay gathered that the meeting was aimed at wooing members of the organised Labour to seek their understanding over the issue.

President Tinubu in his inaugural address, noted that “ subsidy is gone” adding that money gained would be deployed to address crucial social issues such as health and education.

It was observed however, that the decision may not have gone down well with members of the organised Labour, who fear that such move will create more hardships for the already overstressed Nigerians.

This is further worsened by the sharp increase in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as fuel, as prices are said to have hit as high as N600 per liter in parts of the country.

The situation is said to be worse in the South East, where it is reported that the fuel price has hit as high as N1200 per liter.

But Vice President Kashim Shettima, while speaking with State House Journalists on Tuesday, described subsidy as a huge burden placed on the masses, which President Tinubu is committed to remove.

“The truth of the matter is that it is either we get rid of subsidy or the fuel subsidy gets rid of the Nigerian nation. In 2022, we spent $10billion subsidizing the ostentatious lifestyle of the upper class of the society because you and I benefit 90% from the oil subsidy. The poor 40% of Nigerians benefit very little.

“We know the consequences of unveiling a masquerade. We will get fierce opposition from those benefitting from the oil subsidy scam. But where there is a will, there is a way.

“Be rest assured that our President is a man of strong will and conviction. In the fullness of time you will appreciate his noble intentions for the nation. The issue of fuel subsidy will be frontally addressed. The earlier we do so, the better”

But the TUC, rejected the removal of fuel subsidy in a statement by its President and Secretary General, Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro, respectively, warning that “it is a joke taken too far”.

They argued that the move will lead to an “increase in pump price and the exploitation of the people by unregulated and exploitative deregulated prices, then it’s a joke taken too far”.

The Union held that the subsidy removal is a delicate issue that requires “robust dialogue and consultation with the representatives of the working people, including professionals, market people, students, and the poor masses”.

“We hereby demand that President Tinubu should tarry awhile to give room for robust dialogue and consultation and stakeholders engagement, just as he opined in his speech until all issues and questions – and there are a host of them! – to ensure that they are amicably considered and resolved. Nigerian Workers and indeed masses must not be made to suffer the inefficiency of successive governments,” the union said.

The meeting was expected to go into late in the night.