Sunday, 14 April 2019

NLC blast FG on removal of IMF's petroleum subsidy

The Nigerian labour congress chairman. Mr Ayuba Wabba, gave this advice
at a news conference on Saturday in Abuja.
The news conference was tagged: “Public
Declaration of Nigeria’s Host of the 6th African
Meeting of Solidarity with Cuba, Sept. 23 to Sept.
25 and Inauguration of Local Organising
Committee (LOC).
Wabba said that the continued devaluation of the
Nigerian currency had created the impression of
the existence of subsidy.
He said that as long as the value of the Naira
was left to market forces, the issue of subsidy
would continue in the country.
The NLC leader urged that efforts should be
made by the government to upgrade the nation’s
refineries.
“As President of the International Trade Union
Confederation (ITUC), I recently led organised
labour across the world to a meeting with the
IMF and the World Bank.
“I told them point blank that their one-stop
recommendation on subsidy removal and other
sundry policy recommendations to the third world
are not working and will not work.”
He said that there was no country in the world
where IMF’s recommendations had worked “or
are working.’’
According to Wabba, Nigeria should be cautious
in considering the options suggested by the IMF.
‘’I saw that many media houses are trying to
amplify that the IMF has recommended that
subsidy should be removed.
“In the first instance, is there a subsidy? This is
a question we have not been able to answer.
“And I want to corroborate with what President
Buhari said years back that subsidy is actually
corruption and that whoever is subsidising is
aiding corruption and we stand by that position.
“In fact, that has remained a consistent position
of NLC. We can kill that issue of subsidy if we
refine our products for our domestic use and it is
not rocket science.

“Very soon, we are going to forward a document
to the government on that,’’ he stated.
He noted that “countries like Venezuela are
celebrated because they stood their ground on
policies that must work for the people and not
for the capitalist.’’
According to him, our own case is a sorry one
and the situation is even laughable.
“You own crude oil, you pay for it to be extracted
from the ground, you pay for it to be taken
outside to be refined, you pay for the tax to
where you took it to and you also pay to bring it
back to your country for consumption.
”This is simply the pathetic story of Nigeria. God
Almighty has already given us this resource in
abundance, why should our citizens have to suffer
to get it for use?
“In the first place, we should only be talking
about subsidy if actually, we do not produce this
product.
“But whereas we are producing it and in
abundance in that matter, yet we suffer like we
don’t even own a drop of it.
“This is the shameful ordeal Nigerians go
through. It is really a funny situation,’’ he said.
Wabba said that if petroleum was refined in the
country, the word “subsidy’’ would be a thing of
the past.
On the public declaration of Nigeria as the host
of the forthcoming meeting, the NLC president
said: “We must never forget the sacrifice of
Cuban people for the liberation of most African
countries.
“And also for decades, Nigerians have been
beneficiaries of Cuban government scholarships
and education, most especially in the medical
field,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Carlos Trejo, Cuban
Ambassador to Nigeria, commended the NLC
and the Nigerian government for their continued
support to ensure the freedom of the Cuban
people.
Trejo said that Cuba has constantly been attacked
due to their support to the Venezuela government
to stand on policies that must work for the
people.
“We will never abandon the duty to act in
solidarity with Venezuela. So we will continue to
call for support for our sovereignty from African
countries, among others that can support us,” he
said. (NAN)

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