May 27, 2022

Fuel Subsidy Removal: Trade Union Conditions To FG Groundless Says Group

3 min read

……Says Port Harcourt Refinery should start production by April, 2022

The Integrity Youth Alliance has said that the threat from the Trade Union Congress calling for “industrial actions” if the government goes ahead with its removal plans without meeting its conditions is groundless

In a press release on Sunday, 23rd January 2022 signed by the National Coordinator of the Alliance, Kelvin Adegbenga, he said that subsidy removal is a constitutional matter based on the Petroleum Industry Act signed into Law in August 2021 by President Buhari.

“The Trade Union Congress should have channeled their muscles to the National Assembly during the public hearing on the Petroleum Industry Act to kick against subsidy removal (Deregulation) when the debate was on and opportunity given to Nigerians to make input,” the statement said.

“It will be a constitutional breach for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to subsidize fuel from July 2022 because there is no provision for subsidy in the Petroleum Industry Act,” the statement reiterated.

“For the purpose of clarification, the Act establishes incorporated joint companies under Section 65 of the Act.

“The NNPC Limited is to conduct its affairs on a commercial basis in a profitable manner without recourse to government funds and their Memorandum and Articles of Association shall state these restrictions. “The NNPC is also required to declare dividends to its shareholders and retain 20 percent of profit as retained earnings to grow its business like any other incorporated entity incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, as provided under Section 53(7) of the Act.

“The downstream deregulation through the Act will bring about liberalisation of the sector, which would make it possible for all petroleum products marketers to source their products from anywhere and sell at any price dictated by prevailing market forces. “The competition arising from that would have helped to force pump prices down to the benefit of the citizens,” Adegbenga said.

“It is on record that the Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refinery, Ahmed Dikko has given Nigerians assurance that the April 2022 timeline for completion of the rehabilitation was realistic, when the Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Downstream toured the refinery in December, 2021 as part of their oversight duties.

He noted that Petrol subsidy removal would free revenues for the government to provide essential services and at the same time boost investments in the downstream sector. According to him, the benefits of fuel subsidy removal are huge. He said with removal, operators would have the opportunity to recover their costs, and in the long run, investments would receive a massive boost and more jobs would be created.

Adegbenga added that resisting deregulation under the guise of fighting for the welfare of Nigerians was only an attempt to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that they could eat their cake and still have it.

“Therefore, rather than subscribing to this deceptively populist course of action, the leadership of the Trade Union Congress should toe the path of genuine patriotism with which it has long been associated by embracing, promoting and supporting new progressive reform embedded in the Petroleum Industry Act.

“That is the surest way of eliminating the rot that has clogged the road to development in our petroleum sector,” he noted.

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