President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has said Nigerians cannot afford the increase in the pump price of petrol.
At a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, said petrol is currently being subsidised at between N100 billion and N120 billion on a monthly basis.
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He said it is no longer sustainable for the federal government to spend such a huge amount in subsidising petrol.
In an interview with Daily Trust, Wabba said Nigerians cannot bear any increase in pump price because of geometric increase of unemployment and inflation rate.
“At this point in time, Nigerians cannot accommodate any price increase or fluctuation because already, many Nigerians have been impoverished occasioned by COVID-19 and economic downturn. We just came out of recession.
“Importantly, we have seen the statistics on unemployment and inflation. It means those statistics will be doubled if we go in that direction.
“The primary purpose of government is to continue to make sure that citizens don’t suffer the consequences of what they have not bargained for.
“As we speak, with the increment in tariff, energy is still being subsidized. We have shared that document very widely – a commission report by the NLC,” he said.
When asked about the labour’s next line of action if the government goes ahead to actualise its plan, Wabba said, “Our position is very clear, once that happens, certainly we are going to consult our people to know the next line of action.
“Once it reaches the level of going for a showdown, we will consult our organs and roll out what we need to engage them on.”
Responding to a question about Nigerians’ expectation from the labour, the union leader said, “Nigerians should also come out and join labour to resist it. We, the labour leaders are part of Nigerian society.”