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Lai Mohammed Urges Labour Unions to Shelve Proposed Strike

NAN

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LAI MOHAMMED_0The Federal Government has appealed to workers’ unions to shelve their proposed strike over the new petrol price of N145 per litre.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the appeal at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Monday.

Mohammed said the new price was introduced for the country to survive as government could no longer afford the foreign exchange spent by the NNPC to import petrol.

According to him, the nation’s earnings had dropped to about $550 million because of the fall in the price of crude oil, and government needed about that amount to import fuel.

“If we continue along this line, we will get to a point where the country will be completely broke. That is why this policy has become absolutely necessary and we have no option. We are therefore seeking the understanding of all Nigerians and appealing to the organised labour to sheathe their sword. This is not the time for any action that will further worsen the economy. The situation is dire, not just in Nigeria but elsewhere around the world,” he said.

Mohammed gave the instance of United Arab Emirates, which had announced that fuel prices would be deregulated with effect from August 1st 2016.

He added that in response to fiscal pressure caused by the fall in crude oil prices, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC’s top oil producer – Saudi Arabia – had announced a plan to raise fuel prices.

The minister assured that the suffering brought about by the new price regime would be for a very short time.

“It is only going to be a temporary hardship because with the discipline of this government and political will, things will be put in shape. The moment we liberalise and open the market up, there will be competition and the price will come down and there will be petrol glot,” he said.

The minister noted that government was working hard to ensure that the refineries which are already working, worked to optimum capacity.

In addition, he said government had opened bids inviting people to invest in modular refineries to be located close to existing major ones for access to crude.

He said the modular refineries were expected to refine 650,000 barrels of crude a day while the refinery under construction by the business mogul, Aliko Dangote, would also refine 750,000 barrels of crude daily.

Mohammed said that with all these in place, Nigeria would become a net exporter of fuel and other petroleum products by 2019.

He said in order to cushion the immediate effects of the new price regime, government had put in place a number of palliatives which were captured in the 2016 budget.

“The entire 2016 Budget is packed with palliatives. Some N500 billion has been set aside for social intervention that will touch the lives of millions of Nigerians and lift millions more out of poverty.

“500,000 graduates are to be employed and trained as teachers and 370,000 non-graduates (artisans, technicians) will be trained and employed. Also, 1.6 million people (farmers, market women, etc) to be granted loans to set up small businesses and Conditional Cash Transfer will be made to the most vulnerable people. There is also school feeding targeting 5.5 million school children as well as Bursaries/Scholarships for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students,” he said.

The minister said government carried along critical stakeholders before announcing the new price regime.

He said the issue was discussed at a meeting a week ago and was attended by representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, PENGASSAN, and NUPENG.

Mohammed said the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, Governors and Ministers were also present at the meeting.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

4 Comments

  1. treasureD

    May 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    I blame yu idiot

  2. nene+

    May 17, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Are you for real? You subsidized N12 per litre at N87, you removed your subsidy and it amounted to 145? And you say Labour doesn’t deserve an explanation?

  3. Bukola

    May 17, 2016 at 9:39 am

    “Mohammed gave the instance of United Arab Emirates, which had announced that fuel prices would be deregulated with effect from August 1st 2016.” just read what you said oga sir, these people you are comparing us with announced to their people before doing anything drastic, gave them time to even plan, I slept with petrol at 87 naira, woke up to see petrol at 145.
    “It is only going to be a temporary hardship” define temporary sir, a month? a year? 2 years? abegi we are not falling for this again, not after we fell for the whole change mantra. price of transportation, goods have increased, but my salary has not been increased yet and you say all of this to us with your wide eyes open. Thank you sir, God bless you.

    • A.J

      May 17, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      We weren’t given a chance to sleep over it oh, we woke up last Thursday @ #86 and during the day, while minding our business, we were hit with the new price………………..God help us all, between this guys are jokers!!!

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