Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers has said that the advice by the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee on subsidy removal is wrong and highly suicidal if implemented now.
It was reported earlier that the PEAC advised President Muhammadu Buhari to remove subsidy on petrol and adopt a pricing regime that reflects the cost of the commodity.
In reaction to this development, the General Secretary, NUPENG, Olawale Afolabi stated that implementing the advice would spell doom for the poor masses considering the present precarious economic situation of Nigeria.
He said, “Within the current context of hardship in the country, it is suicidal to remove subsidy now. It is highly suicidal within the current situation.”
Afolabi said NUPENG had repeatedly told the government that the full deregulation of the downstream oil industry was the way to go, but this must not be based on petroleum product imports.
According to him, deregulation is desirable in the downstream sector but not within the context of importation.
He said, “We have always been saying that domestic production is the way to go. So you cannot base our deregulation on the importation of products. It is like selling our employment opportunities and throwing away our resources. We’ve been telling government for years now, make sure that domestic production and refining of the product is on, then you can deregulate.”
Speaking on the benefits of deregulation, he said, “It will engender increased business activities in the downstream sector but it should not be based on importation of products. You should deregulate within the context of local refining.”
Afolabi maintained that the advice of the PEAC is wrong and it is not applicable now because the refineries were not working. He further emphasized that within the context of the current hardship in the country, subsidy should not be removed at this period.