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Organised Private Sector Split Over Fuel subsidy

Listen to article investigation has revealed that the Nigerian Organised Private Sector (OPS), earlier reported to have backed plans by the Federal to remove fuel subsidy from January 2012, are now talking with dissenting voices, just as Business

Membership Organizations (BMOs) of the body says they were yet to take a position on the issue.

The new twist is however in difference with the reported alleged endorsement of 42 members of OPS invited to a retreat in Abuja by the Federal Government between October 13 and 14, 2011, who were also to have signed a communiqué arising from the retreat in support of the government.

The Director General of the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Olusegun Oshinowo, has in a statement titled 'Re: reported position of OPS on removal fuel subsidy' and made available to, affirmed that the OPS was yet to meet and take a position as a body, adding that those who purportedly endorsed the fuel subsidy removal could not have done so on behalf of Nigerian OPS. 

According to the statement, 'the meeting of the five BMOs which comprises Nigerian OPS including MAN, NECA, NACCIMA, NASSI and NASME where the much published plan on subsidy removal by the government would be discussed and position taken is yet to hold', adding that 'it is slated to hold in two weeks' time.'

'First, it is important for the public to know that the OPS comprising the following organisations NECA, MAN, NACCIMA, NASSI AND NASME, that these organisations were neither invited nor represented in their institutional capacity at the said meeting held with Government. Therefore, the reported support of the OPS for the removal of fuel subsidy is not true, as the OPS is yet to meet and take a position on this issue.  Whoever must have been part of the meeting with the government, attended and spoke in their personal capacity and not on behalf of the OPS.

'We, therefore, disassociate ourselves from the said statement, which was signed by the 42 representatives of the OPS at the said meeting. As soon as, the OPS meet and takes a position, this will be conveyed to the government and made known to the public through the various institutions of the OPS.

'If and when we are called for the stakeholders meeting, each arm of the OPS as part of an OPS delegation will exercise its right, in line with international best practice, in determining the personalities that would represent it at the meeting.  It is also instructive to note that the outcome of OPS meetings with government as in time past is never carried as a statement, which individual parties at the meeting are expected to sign.  The outcome of such meeting is often based on consensus and conviction, which both parties are expected to adhere to based on utmost good faith and trust.

'We want to seize this opportunity to appeal to individual members and officials to henceforth desist from making personal statement on the issue of fuel subsidy in the name of the OPS,' Oshinowo said.

Recall that Nduka Obaigbena, chairman THISDAY newspaper, on behalf of the organized private sector after the retreat, read a communiqué arising from the Abuja retreat. Among the 45 members at the retreat was the president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Kola Jamodu.