The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has condemned resolution of State Finance Commissioners, calling for removal of petroleum subsidy as self and consequently called on the Federal Government to ignore them.
TUC made the observation in a statement signed by President and Secretary of the union, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Comrade Musa Lawal.
“The attention of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has been drawn to the reported resolution of the Forum of States Finance Commissioners, as stated by its chairman, Ebonyi State Commissioner of Finance, Hon. Timothy Odaah, calling for the removal of fuel subsidy in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry. We particularly note his assertion that ‘the subsidy should be removed so that every state or any member of the federating unit sharing from FAAC will take its own money and determine how to use it or grant subsidy to the level that it can afford,’ the TUC said.
According to TUC, the commissioners’ argument is rather selfish and it shows the share-and-grab-the-money-and-run approach of the political elites, and we advise the government to completely ignore the position of the commissioner and his likes.
“It is sad that such pronouncement has come only a few days after the minister of petroleum, Dieziani Allison Madueke, stated publicly that government has no plan for subsidy removal”, the statement said.
The TUC described any attempt to remove petroleum subsidy as an act in bad faith and a breach of trust of the Nigerian people, especially workers.
“As far as we are concerned, the government exists for the people and their welfare and security should be of paramount concern to it. Fuel subsidy removal at this time and without considering the potential adverse effects on the masses is wrong and would amount to a betrayal”, the union noted.
The TUC is of the view that the N879 billion generated from fuel price increase and reforms should be re-invested in the building of viable factories, infrastructure and to finance quality education for our children.
“While the Congress is not totally against the removal of petroleum subsidy at some appropriate time in the future, we are of the view that this should be done only after several fundamental pre-requisite conditions have been met by the government. In the interim, we expect Hon. Odaah and his fellow chairmen and the executives at the state and federal levels to be more focused on initiating ways to generate revenue internally for their respective jurisdictions.
“Clearly the Finance Commissioners Forum did not address the issue of likely grave effects of their suggested policy on the poor masses, neither did it (forum) proffer any possible remedy to such effects”, the TUC said.