Tinubu Cannot Unilaterally Remove Fuel Subsidy – TUC Dares President
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has responded to President Bola Tinubu’s decision to eliminate fuel subsidies.
TUC stated that Tinubu cannot unilaterally decide to eliminate petroleum product subsidies in the country.
Before making a decision on the “delicate” matter, the TUC stated that the newly inaugurated President should “wait a while to allow for robust dialogue and consultation and stakeholder engagement.”
Before such a decision could be made by the President, according to the Congress, a number of issues must be considered and resolved amicably.
The TUC stated in a statement co-signed by its President Festus Osifo and Secretary General Nuhu Toro, “Nigerian workers and the general populace must not be made to suffer the inefficiency of successive governments.”
On Monday, during his inaugural address at the Eagle Square in Abuja, Tinubu stated that the era of fuel subsidy payments has ended, adding that neither the 2023 budget nor the justification for subsidy payments exist.
“The fuel subsidy has been eliminated,” Tinubu declared, noting that his government would instead invest in infrastructure and other areas to bolster the economy.
Since then, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has supported Tinubu’s proposal to eliminate fuel subsidies.
Since the president’s announcement, fuel lines have reemerged across the nation as Nigerians search for the premium product.
However, the TUC stated that the President cannot unilaterally remove subsidies, citing the reason why the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari delegated this “sensitive issue” to the new government.
The TUC stated, “While listening to Tinubu’s inaugural address, we were initially encouraged by his pledge to lead as a servant of the people (rather than a dictator) and to always consult and dialogue, especially on key and complex national issues.”
“However, we were shocked, even horrified, when he announced the withdrawal of subsidies on petroleum products. If by this he means increases in pump prices and the exploitation of the populace by unregulated and exploitative deregulated prices, then it’s a joke taken too far.
“It is not for nothing that the Buhari administration pushed this issue onto the new administration, but we expect the Tinubu administration to be prudent on such a sensitive matter and be more explicit in its pronouncement to avoid contradictory interpretations when comparing his written statement, what he said, and the provision in the 2023 appropriations act.
“We dare to say that this is a very delicate issue that affects the lives, if not the very survival, of the working class. It should have been handled with the utmost care and preceded by a robust dialogue and consultation with the representatives of the working class, including professionals, market people, students, and the poor masses.
“Accordingly, we hereby demand that President Tinubu delay his departure to allow for robust dialogue, consultation, and engagement with stakeholders, as he suggested in his speech, until all issues and questions – and there are many! – are considered and resolved amicably. Workers and the general populace of Nigeria must not be forced to endure the inefficiency of successive governments.”