Nigeria's Labour vows to frustrate Deregulation Policy

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In a sustained opposition to the deregulation policy of the federal government, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at the weekend vowed that members of organised labour would be called upon to take actions that would frustrate the policy.

The NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar, reiterated labour's opposition to the government's controversial plan at Ikaram Akoko, Ondo State, during the burial of the late Prince Samuel Kayode, the father of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN.

''For now, we are expecting the federal government to announce that the proposed deregulation has been cancelled,” he stated.

“However, if government continues with the planned deregulation, we will call out our members and we will take up necessary steps to frustrate the deregulation exercise,” he added.

According to Omar, it would be unwise for government to deregulate outrightly without any form of checks and balances.

He argued that no country allows its oil sector to be deregulated without control.

''What we are saying is that the government should be able to settle down and do a proper planning by providing a conducive atmosphere that will ensure stability of supply and stability of pricing. It is then that we will be able to do the deregulation that we are talking about,” declared the labour leader.

The NLC president who berated some marketers for hoarding petroleum products said they were doing so in anticipation that prices would go up once the deregulation policy is implemented.

Marketers in Ondo State, particularly independent operators, are now selling petrol between N75.00 and N82.00 per litre while the price of diesel is fluctuating between N110.00 and N120.00 per litre.

Also, there are some marketers that have refused to sell the product without any justifiable reason.

The planned deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry by the federal government has been a subject of heated debate. The presidency says it is the way forward because subsidy distorts the system, aids and abets corruption and creates more problems.

On the other hand, organised labour insists it would inflict untold hardship on the populace, particularly with regard to increased prices.

Labour has also not bought government argument that although prices may be high initially, it will likely fall in the long run when there is competition in the industry.