NLC Threatens Nationwide Protest Over Plan To Increase Fuel Price
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to shut down the nation’s economy by January 27, next year, if the Federal Government goes ahead with its plan to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol.
It also warned the Federal Government to perish the idea of petrol subsidy removal, saying it will resist and reject any decision of the government that would inflict more hardships on the people.
Already, the organised labour has directed all its 36 branches and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja to mobilize their members for a nationwide protest rally if the government should go ahead with the planned increase of petrol.
It threatened that it would not give the government any notice should it go ahead to remove the fuel subsidy before the January 27, 2022 protest rally date.
These were part of the decisions reached by the organised labour at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, last Friday.
In a communique signed by the President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and the General Secretary, Comrade Emma Ugbaja, the organized labour stated that “an increase in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as ‘petrol’ by the government will expose Nigerian workers and the generality of the citizenry to acute deprivation, hardship and suffering as it would worsen the already established trend of hyperinflation in the country”.
It linked the genesis of the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sub-sector especially as it relates to the petrol pump price regime to a policy of importation based pricing template for refined petroleum products as against local production based pricing template.
According to NLC, “as long as the pricing of refined petroleum products is based on importation pricing template which is heavily dependent on a volatile foreign exchange rate heavily skewed against the Naira, the price of petrol and other refined petroleum products will continue to rise beyond the reach of average Nigerian workers and citizens”.
The organised labour decried incessant increase in the pump price of petrol which, it said, was usually disguised as deregulation or removal of fuel subsidy, and therefore, condemned plans by the Federal Government to further increase the pump price of petrol.
The communique reads in part: “The NEC, therefore, resolved to reject and resist the planned increase in the pump price of petrol by the Federal Government as it described it as extremely insensitive to the acute hardship being experienced by Nigerian workers and people;
“That Government should promote the local capacity to refine petroleum products for domestic use;
“Pursuant to its rejection and resistance of further increase in the price of petrol, to organize protest rallies in all the 36 states of the federation on 27th January, 2022 which would culminate in the submission of protest letters to all the 36 State governors. Subsequently, a national protest will take place on 1st February, 2022 in Abuja; and
“In case the government decides to announce new petrol prices before the proposed protests, the protest will kick off instantly and without any other further notice in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory”.
By: Boye Salau
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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