In response to the ongoing controversy surrounding the removal of fuel subsidy and the subsequent increase in the price of petrol, the Federal Government of Nigeria is contemplating an adjustment to the national minimum wage to align with the prevailing economic conditions in the country.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to commence a nationwide strike on Wednesday if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) does not revert the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) back to N184 per litre. The NLC, during its emergency National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, directed its affiliated unions to mobilize workers for the strike and protest, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the previous petrol price.
During a meeting with members of the Progressive Governors Forum at the Presidential Villa, President Tinubu expressed his commitment to improving the livelihoods of Nigerians through people-centric economic policies. He acknowledged the need to consider the minimum wage and evaluate the revenue sources and allocation for its implementation.
Meanwhile, NLC President Joe Ajaero, in a press briefing following the union’s meeting, cautioned against negotiations with individuals who lack the necessary authority and capacity to represent the government effectively. He stated that if the NNPCL fails to reverse the petrol price increase by Wednesday, the NLC and its affiliates will initiate a nationwide protest and withdraw their services.
President Tinubu’s removal of fuel subsidy earlier generated panic buying, with some filling stations setting the petrol price at N600 per litre shortly after the announcement. While his spokespersons claimed misinterpretation by certain sections of the media, the NNPCL, despite discussions with NLC officials, announced new pump prices according to states, resulting in a deadlock.
In a separate development, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) revealed that it will hold a meeting with the Federal Government representatives on Sunday to discuss the petrol price hike. The TUC affirmed that it will refrain from taking any action until the conclusion of the meeting. TUC’s National President, Festus Osifo, expressed discontent with the government’s unilateral decision to remove fuel subsidy and urged a return to the previous status quo.
Additionally, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors accused oil marketers of hoarding fuel supply and causing hardships for Nigerians following President Tinubu’s announcement. The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, condemned the price increase and urged Nigerians to support the government’s decision to discontinue petrol subsidy payments. Governor Uzodimma emphasized the need for a transition to new economic realities and called for unity and resilience among the citizens.
As the nation awaits the outcome of the Sunday meeting between the TUC and the government representatives, the Nigerian populace hopes for a resolution that addresses the concerns of both the labour unions and the government while minimizing the impact on the citizens.