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NLC Rejects Planned Petrol Price Hike, Faults FG’s N5,000 Palliative

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…2022 Budget Has No Provision For such Grant, Says Senate 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected a planned petrol price hike in the country and the Federal Government’s proposal to pay the sum of N5000 monthly to Nigerians as palliative.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba in a statement on Wednesday described the plan of the Federal Government as a “penny wise-pound foolish” gamble.

According to him, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari announced on Wednesday that petrol could cost as much as N340 from February 2022.

Wabba lamented that there are no ongoing talks between labour and the Federal Government, as negotiation was adjourned (with no new date assigned) many months ago.

He accused the government of adopting monologue in arriving at its conclusion on subsidy removal, stressing that it will continually reject deregulation that is anchored on the importation of petroleum products.

According to him, the contemplation by the Federal Government to increase the price of petrol by more than 200% is a perfect recipe for an aggravated pile of hyper-inflation and increase in the price of goods and services.

This, Wabba said will open a wide door for increased insecurity crises and possibly citizens’ revolt.

See the full statement below…


NIGERIAN WORKERS REFUSE TO TAKE THE BAIT!

A few hours ago, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari announced that the price of petrol could jump as high as N320 and N340 from February 2022. The NNPC GMD/CEO said that the price increase would be consequent on the plans by the Federal Government to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit also commonly referred to as petrol or fuel. The grand optimism of the NNPC GMD was predicated on the claims that the removal of the fuel subsidy is now backed by an act of parliament probably the Petroleum Industry Act which was recently signed into law.

The assertion of the NNPC GMD was re-echoed on the 23rd of November 2021 by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, at the launch of the World Bank Nigeria Development Update (NDU), titled ‘Time for Business Unusual’ where she announced government’s plans to disburse N5000 to 40 million poorest Nigerians each as transport grant to cushion the effect of the planned removal of the fuel subsidy.

The disclosures by the NNPC GMD and the Minister of Finance were in symphony with the positions of the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri and the International Monetary Fund urging the Federal Government to do away with fuel subsidy.



The response of the Nigeria Labour Congress is that what we are hearing is the conversation of the Federal government with neo-liberal international monetary institutions. The conversation between the government and the people of Nigeria especially workers under the auspices of the trade union movement on the matter of fuel subsidy was adjourned sine die so many months ago.

Given the nationwide panic that has trailed the disclosure of the monologue within the corridors of government and foreign interests, the Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to posit that it continues to maintain its rejection of deregulation based on import driven model. It is difficult to convince Nigerian workers why our dear country is the only country among the OPEC member countries that cannot produce its own refined petroleum products and thus adopts the neo-liberal import production model of refined petroleum products.

We wish to reiterate our persuasion that the only benefit of deregulation based on import driven model is that Nigerian consumers will infinitely continue to pay high prices for refined petroleum products. This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the Naira which currently goes for N560 to 1US$ in the parallel market. Thus, any attempt to compare the price of petrol in Nigeria to other countries would be set on a faulty premise as it would be akin to comparing apples to mangoes.



The contemplation by government to increase the price of petrol by more than 200% is a perfect recipe for an aggravated pile of hyper-inflation and astronomical increase in the price of goods and services. This will open a wide door to unintended social consequences such as degeneration of the current insecurity crises and possibly citizens’ revolt. This is not an outcome that any sane Nigeria wishes for.



The argument that the complete surrender of the price of petrol to market forces would normalize the curve of demand and supply as is being wrongly attributed to the current market realities with cooking gas, diesel and kerosene is very obtuse. The truth is that these commodities which Nigeria can easily produce have been priced out of the reach of most Nigerian families with majority of our people resorting to tree felling and charcoal for their energy needs.



Finally, we wish to warn that the bait by government to pay 40 million Nigerians N5000 as palliative to cushion the effect of astronomical increase in the price of petrol is comical, to say the least. The total amount involved in this queer initiative is far more than the money government claims to spend currently on fuel subsidy. Apart from our concerns on the transparency of the disbursement given previous experiences with such schemes, we are wondering if government is not trying to rob Nigerians to pay Nigerians? Why pay me N5000 and then subject me to perpetual suffering?

Clearly, government thoughts on the so-called removal of fuel subsidy is cloudy and appears to be a “penny wise-pound foolish” gamble. It is clear that the palliative offered by government will not cure the cancer that will befall the mass of our people who suffer the double jeopardy of hype-inflation while their salaries remain fixed.

As we had done several times, we call on the federal government to consider various options that can help Nigeria navigate out of the quagmire constructed by the failure of successive governments to embrace developmental governance and accountable leadership. Some of the viable options that can help include:

Insulate the domestic consumers from the market pressure brought about by the free fall of the Naira by making arrangement with contiguous refineries not far from Nigeria to swap crude oil with refined petroleum products;

Accelerate work on the rehabilitation of Nigeria’s four major refineries which are all currently operating at near zero installed capacity; and

Establish empirical data on the quantity of refined petroleum products consumed daily by Nigerians. It is unfortunate that this record remains a myth and a huge crater for all manner of official sleaze and leakages in the downstream petroleum sub-sector of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

A stitch in time might save nine!


Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni

President

24th November 2021

Meanwhile, the Senate has said there is no provision for the proposed N5,000 transport grant to cushion the effect of subsidy removal in the 2022 budget.

Senate Committee Chairman on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan stated this after he defended his committee’s report before the Committee on Appropriations chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau on Wednesday in Abuja.

Olamilekan was asked to confirm following the earlier promise by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who said the sum of N5,000 would be provided before the middle of 2022 to Nigerians as a transportation grant.

He further posited that the 2022 budget proposal contained fuel subsidy and not a transportation grant which amounts to N2.4 trillion.

Senator Olamilekan’s disclosure was contrary to the Minister’s submission weeks ago when she appeared before the Senate on Finance and said every citizen would be paid N5,000 as the Federal Government plans to remove fuel subsidy finally in 2022.

The lawmaker said: “I don’t want to go into details for now. I believe that if such a proposal is to come to pass, a document to that effect must be sent to National Assembly for us to see how possible it is and how do we identify the 40 million Nigerians that are going to benefit.

“There are still a lot of issues to be deliberated upon and looked into if eventually, this will come to pass. How do we raise this money to pay these 40 million Nigerians because I know that even the federal government revenues are from this so-called oil and other sources.”

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Osinbajo Jets To Dubai, To Address Global LPG Forum

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, departed Abuja to participate at the World Liquified Petroleum Gas Association forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the VP is expected to deliver a keynote address at the event which would feature leaders, including top government ministers from across the world.

Also, some Chief Executives of major multinational corporations in the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) sectors around the globe are expected to attend the week-long 2021 World LPG Week from Sunday through Thursday this week under the auspices of the Paris-based World LPG Association.

Prof. Osinbajo will be speaking on Tuesday at the forum, which is attracting over 2,000 delegates from 72 countries, on the theme of the LPG Week – “Energising Tomorrow.”

The World LGP Week, which will first be held in Amsterdam in 2019, is an annual event bringing together major LPG companies, senior public sector officials, industry experts and other relevant stakeholders.

This year’s LPG Week, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, creates the opportunity for global stakeholders to engage with the activities lined up, including a global exhibition, technology conference, the LPG Development Summit, among others.

The World LPG Association was established in 1987 and granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, in 1989. WLPGA is the umbrella association which globally coordinates the LPG industry.

According to Laolu, the Vice President is expected back in Abuja on Thursday.

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Dowen College: My Son Is Not Involve In Sylvester Death, Sen. Kashamu’s Family Speaks

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The family of the late Senator Buruji Kashamu has denied the involvement of their son in the death of Sylvester Oromoni, 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College, Lekki.

Recall that Sylvester died from internal injuries days before his birthday after being assaulted by fellow students in Dowen College.

The deceased, before his death, mentioned some names of boys who assaulted him.

Kashamu’s son was one of the suspects named in the case.

However, the family in a statement issued by Mutairu Kashamu for the family, confirmed that although one of their sons, Michael Adewale Kashamu, was named among the suspected bullies of the deceased, he had no involvement in the death of Sylvester.

Part of the statement read: “The Kashamu family has been inundated with enquiries, calls and messages over the unfortunate incident at Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, that led to the untimely death of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of the College.

“Most commentators have rushed to conclusions based on assumptions and false information, including the allegation that our son Adewale Michael Kashamu was involved in the bullying or beating of Sylvester Oromoni.”

The family noted that it has conducted its private investigation since the story broke out and their son was just Sylvester’s school father the previous session.

”We as a family have made our own private enquiries and carefully questioned our son about his involvement. This is why we didn’t rush out to respond to the cyber-stalking, name-calling and negative commentaries that have taken over the social media about our son’s alleged involvement in this sad incident.

”Some of the true facts now slowly emerging from under the mass of lies are that: Our son, Adewale Michael Kashamu, had acted as a school father for the late Sylvester in his first session in the school at the request of Sylvester’s sister who is also a student of the school.

“However, in the 2021 session which began in September 2021 Adewale Michael Kashamu was moved to a different floor in the boarding house and engrossed in his own studies and activities, our son was no longer as close to Sylvester as in the previous session.”

The family condoled with the family of Late Sylvester Oromoni and appealed to all and sundry to hold their horses until the police and the Lagos State government have completed their independent investigations and established the truth.

Dowen College has been shut down indefinitely by the Lagos State government till investigation into Sylvester’s death is over.

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Omicron: FG Expresses Disappointment Over UK Govt’s Red Listing Of Nigeria

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed disappointment over the United Kingdom government’s placement of Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list,” the minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move.

“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.

“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”

According to the minister, the move was ill-advised as he noted that it would have multiple impacts on commerce, and disrupt activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“It is going to disrupt commerce,” he added. It is going to disrupt family reunions.”
Ban List Not ‘Helpful’

He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

While reiterating that the placement of countries on the red list will not help in the global fight against the pandemic, Ehanire said Nigeria is anticipating the fourth wave of the disease.

“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” the minister said.

“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”

The UK’s move, which came a few days after Nigeria detected the new strain, followed a similar decision by the Canadian authorities.

“Foreign nationals who have transited or stayed in these 10 countries cannot enter Canada if they have been in those countries in the last two weeks,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a press conference.

Aside from Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi were the other countries recently added to Canada’s travel ban list.

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