The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has described the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) planned nationwide protest against fuel subsidy removal as unnecessary and misplaced priority.
The NLC had fixed January 27 for its protest across the 36 states and a grand protest in Abuja over the planned fuel subsidy removal.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties to the Chairman, National Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalisation, Petroleum Product Adulteration and Monitoring, Nwozuzu Chigozie, said rather than protest over fuel subsidy, the union should have vent its anger over failure of the authorities to invest in modular refineries.
He noted that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 16, 2021, had no provision for subsidy.
According to him, the conversation about fuel subsidy in Nigeria should have been a thing of the past because it was an obvious wastage of the nation’s resources which he said is benefiting only a few.
He said: “In the 2022 budget, there is nothing like fuel subsidy. The landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) currently is around N400 per litre. The truth is it is against business ethics for importers to sell fuel below the landing cost.
“The labour leaders campaigning for massive protest won’t tolerate that kind of thing in their individual businesses. For a very long time NNPC has been in the business of importation and many business owners refused to import because of a lot of corruption.
“What the full deregulation means is that your landing cost determine how much you sell and Nigerians would buy at wherever suit them.
Why is labour so particular about petrol? Are they protesting in interest of the populace? The answer is No. They have an ulterior motive.”
While calling on labour leaders to enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of stopping payment of fuel subsidy, Chigozie urged government to reinvest the subsidy savings in critical areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture and other sectors.
“But if the labour union is insisting on protest, that means they want the corruption involved in the payment of fuel subsidy to continue. Why can’t government subsidise foodstuff and provide electricity for people? There is a lot of unnecessary emphasis on fuel while Nigerians are suffering in other sectors,” he added.