Fix Refineries, Allow Market Forces Determine Petrol Price – NLC Urges Govt
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has advised the Federal Government to allow market forces to determine the pump price of petroleum products.
It said the government must make the country’s refineries work before it can deregulate the downstream sector.
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, had said the price of petrol could hit N300 per litre once the petroleum industry bill (PIB) becomes a law.
But yesterday, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva doused fear of imminent price hike by assuring that organised labour must be carried along.
The National Administrative Council of the NLC will meet tomorrow to take an official position on the bill, which was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
Deputy President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero speaking on the need to allow the market to determine the price of petrol said: “Is deregulation synonymous with the price increase? If you say you are deregulating you allow market forces to determine. Why is the government saying petrol will sell at a particular price? That is equally price Fixing.
“It is complicit for any Head of that corporation to be telling us what it will cost (to buy petrol) when they deregulate.
“If what we understood from inception that deregulation will be left for market forces; it (price of petrol) can come down, it can go up. So why is he fixing a price?
“It then means there is something that meets the eye in the whole process.
“We at NLC have said that the refineries must work as a pre-condition. We didn’t say you deregulate and start to build refineries. It will not happen if they (government) first deregulate before fixing the refineries.”