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Labour silent as Buhari, govs discuss fuel price Thursday

The President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the state governors will discuss the issue of fuel pricing Thursday.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this Sunday night after a bipartite meeting of the Federal Government and the organised labour at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Briefing journalists on their resolutions, Ngige said the labour had investigated the report of the Technical Committee on Premium Motor Spirit Pricing Framework as agreed at the last meeting and made their submissions alongside the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The minister said, “The labour side saw that they (NNPC) were making some points and like I said, it is work in progress. Governors are going to discuss this on Thursday.

“They have discussed this at the National Economic Council and so, everybody is involved because we find ourselves in dire straits. There is no money for subsidy.

“The NNPC has explained: What they are doing is import- dependent. Deregulation is import-dependent but they are doing bulk purchasing. So, they can get discounts.

“They are also using foreign exchange that is discounted for them. They are not buying from the parallel market. So, all these things will be put in the basket and a price will emerge from it.”

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Ngige maintained that the Federal Government had concluded discussions with the organised labour on the fuel pricing.

On the electricity tariff, the minister disclosed that the meeting adopted the report of its Ad-hoc Technical Committee on Electricity Tariffs, made some adjustments and transformed the committee into an implementation committee, to implement all the recommendations made, including mass metering.

He stated, “You will start seeing members of the committee with the Minister of Power going around now and making sure that the Discos put meters for people because there are reports that they don’t want to be distributing meters and that they want to be doing bulk billing and estimated billing. So, we don’t want that.

“There is also a resolution as regards gas companies reducing gas pricing for gas sold to power companies, GENCOS and the rest of them so that the price of electricity per unit will go down and the consumers will benefit from it. We have given the marching orders for them to do so.

“Some paper work has to be done and once that is done, price of electricity will go down and once it goes down, the consumers will benefit.”

He said the committee also recommended that those forcefully migrated by distribution companies from lower paying bands C and D to upper bands A and B should petition the National Electricity Regulatory Commission.

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Ngige, however, announced that the social dialogue between the Federal Government and organised labour has been adjourned till April as the two standing committees were still working.

The Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustafa, congratulated the organised labour for their sacrifices at this time of economic difficulty, which has been rewarded with Nigeria’s exit from recession in the third quarter of 2020.

The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and his TUC counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, led the organised labour.

The organised labour failed to respond on the planned meeting by the President and the governors.

Wabba and Olaleye did not respond to calls and text messages sent to them on Monday.

Punch

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