The Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and many other citizens lambasted the President Bola Tinubu-led Government for being so tough on citizens by allowing the continued hike in the price of petrol.
The Nigeria Labour Congress threatened to take “matters into its own hands” following the decision by the NNPCL to hike petrol price and the Federal Government’s plan to distribute N8,000 monthly to 12 million poor households in the country.
The Labour Congress rejected the new pump price of petrol fixed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL).
Earlier on Tuesday, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as fuel or petrol, has increased to N617 per litre in the nation’s capital and N620 in Kano.
Addressing State House correspondents earlier on Tuesday, Mele Kyari, Group Executive Director of NNPCL, justified the hike, which he attributed to market forces.
He advised Nigerians to welcome the development, saying that was the way to go.
But NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, described the increment as “insults our collective intelligence.”
In a statement, he said: “The proposal to pay N8,000 to each of the so-called 12 million poorest Nigerian households for a period of six months insults our collective intelligence and makes a mockery of our patience and abiding faith in social dialogue which the government may have alluded to albeit pretentiously.
“If the government does not want to stop these fortuitous actions that it is pursuing in the name of palliatives, we will be forced to constructively review our engagement with the government on this vexatious issue and take matters into our own hands.”
However, in a statement on Tuesday night, Dele Alake, presidential spokesperson, said Tinubu had ordered the immediate review of the proposed N8,000 conditional cash transfer to Nigerians, meant to cushion the effect of the petrol subsidy removal.
The President also directed that the whole gamut of the palliative package of government be unveiled to Nigerians.
“That the N8,000 conditional cash transfer programme envisaged to bring succour to most vulnerable households be reviewed immediately. This is in deference to the views expressed by Nigerians against it,” the statement read.
‘Tinubu has deviated’ – TUC
The Trade Union Congress also blasted the Federal Government over the hike in the price of fuel.
TUC’s National Vice President, Tommy Etim, said the country was now headed towards economic chaos.
He said, “We are entering one chance. It is unfortunate that the government is insensitive to the plight of the commoners and the poorest of the poor. You can see that fuel which is essential to the movement of goods and services, including the informal businesses, have continued to fluctuate in price.
“For NNPC to wake up and increase the fuel price again, you need to ask what the increase is all about? Since they claimed that subsidy has been removed, why is the NNPC still regulating prices of fuel? The presidential committee that is considering palliatives is still meeting. As I speak to you, the sub-committees have not even met at all, I know this because I am a member of one.
“We have not concluded that, no template yet for implementation of proposals to be raised; but all that we are seeing is Tinubu going to the National Assembly, talking about distribution of N8,000 to 12 million households. What is the credibility of the social register? Nigeria is undergoing dimensional poverty and with the inflation rate, we are praying that we will not be like Zimbabwe. Look at the naira, this calls for urgent attention.”
He said the wages of workers had remained static, adding that “when Tinubu came in we were optimistic and we felt that he started well but he has started to deviate. He needs to remember the poorest of the poor who voted him into office.
“Look at the prices of food. Garri is now a luxury. People can’t afford garri again. Government has refused to think outside the box. At this point, we are seriously doubting if the proposal of the committee will be implemented.”
Nigerians on social media also kicked against the adjustment in the pump price of petrol.
They bemoaned the price hike, lamenting that the situation would further impoverish the citizens.
“NNPC fuel price is now N617 /litre. I hope you are enjoying the renewed shege?” a popular tweep, Nefferetti with Twitter handle @firstladyship wrote.
@PoojaMedia wrote, “President Tinubu needs to address the nation NOW. Hunger is walking on the streets of Nigeria.”
Another user, @trending_medic, said, “Fuel at N617/litre and dollar hitting N835/$. Thank God it’s only Obidients that will suffer it.”
@OfficialUdiBoy wrote, “Fuel has gone up to N617, renewed hope has turned to renewed shege. E go touch everybody until we get the mandate back.”
On his part, @YemieFash said, “The same petrol that was N190/litre two months ago is N617/litre. Is this the renewed hope?”
“Not up to a month and Tinubu times are this hard!! No way in hell I am buying fuel for N617. Once my phone goes off now na till NEPA bring light next,” @KhaleedSZN wrote.
@SodiqTade wrote, “Dear Tinubu Boys, A litre of fuel is now selling for N617, almost two months after the removal of subsidy by Tinubu. Do you still think the N8,000 per household will cushion the possible effects of this new price? It seems Nigerians have entered one chance with this mandate.”
It was observed that observed that though some fuel stations sold at N600/litre on Tuesday, most outlets of NNPCL along Ikotun, Akonwonjo, Cement axis of Lagos State were still selling for N568/litre.
There were long queues around NNPC outlets because they were selling cheaper than others.
An outlet belonging to God’s Decision located along Ikotun in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos, was selling at N600 /litre.
‘Higher inflation looms’
Reacting to the development, the President, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Laoye Jaiyeole, said, “It is already leading to inflation. It is a tough time, no doubt, but what is critical is for us to begin to act quickly. Let me tell you something, in 2015 before the first inflation in 2016, we saw this coming and at NESG we gave them three scenarios.
“We asked that there are difficult decisions the nation needs to take and we didn’t take them, we ran away from them, maybe if we had taken those decisions it may not be as bad as this. Now the tough choices are being taken and I must confess they are tough.
“Giving succor to those that are less privileged is one, but you know we cannot continue to share money, we have to boost production. By boosting production it means we are going to ask ourselves what we are going to do about food and the productive sector. How do we ensure that we have electricity?”
He stated that if Nigeria starts refining crude oil, it would reduce the pressure on the exchange rate.
Marketers project N700/litre
Meanwhile, oil marketers insisted that petrol price would hit N700/litre once fresh products being imported by independent firms start arriving Nigeria
The National Controller, Operations, Independent Marketers Association of NIgeria, Mike Osatuyi, reaffirmed this on Tuesday.
According to him, Lagos residents should prepare to buy petrol for as high as N600/N620/litre, while those living up North could pay as high as N700/litre.
His prediction was, however, greeted with uproar, with many labour unions describing the prediction as “insensitive”, and a ploy by marketers to hike petrol price.
Osatuyi, however, stood by his words, as he stated that with crude oil price already attaining $82/litre at the international market, and the exchange rate around N800/$, the pump price would definitely attain around N700/litre.
“The new stock will arrive any moment from the third week in July. But you know crude is now around $82/barrel, and the exchange rate is around N800. So, the new price would be determined by these two factors,” he said.
The Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Chido Onumah, faulted the government’s lack of control over the NNPCL as regards the pump price of petrol.
“The government seems not to be in control. We have a new government that is clearly not in charge and just leaving things at the hands of whether you say market forces, or buccaneer businessmen, or government forces like the NNPC that is completely out of control.”
He also lamented the effects of the hike on salary earners, noting that the situation was “becoming a nightmare for Nigerians”, as they were suffering more in the two months since the inauguration of the Tinubu administration, than in the last eight years of the previous administration.Follow us on social media