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NNPC lacks power to fix price Of Petroleum Products – NLC

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero has stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) lacks the power to fix price of petroleum products.

The federal government stated last week that there was no provision in the budget 2023 beyond May 29 for subsidy. However according to Ajaero, the federal government lied as records showed that there was provision for subsidy till the end of June.

The labour leader argued that there was a backlog of about N2.3 trillion, according to NNPC.

Ajaero then stated that NNPC lacked the constitutional power to fix prices in a competitive market, like Nigeria.

Ajaero speaking to Arise TV on Monday, June 5 said;, “Now if he is saying that there is no appropriation for subsidy, then fine and good. We can take it from there and we have to discuss it. No appropriation for subsidy doesn’t mean that the NNPC, a private limited company, will now determine for us the price.

“If they say they have removed the subsidy and it should be subject to market forces, then it shouldn’t be for the NNPC to determine prices. They don’t have such powers and there is no provision that their board, as a limited liability company, ever met and took such a resolution. Such details are not acceptable to the labour movement.”

“By Tuesday night, I held a meeting with Mr. President and his team. There and then, the NNPC said they were going to bring out figures and prices. And on the spot, I told them, if you do that, we’ll fight back. There’s no basis for you to take that decision before discussion. And they went ahead and did that.

“We decided to boycott the meeting, but people still prevailed. We attended the meeting and asked them to return to the status quo to enable us to discuss freely. And up till now, they have not done that. So what are we going there to do?”

Ajaero challenged the government to give Nigerians details of the subsidy they had been paying and those that were paid.

“We had agreed on some alternatives before now. Why are those alternatives not working?” he asked.

When asked why labour was not persuaded by various factual arguments put forward by the federal government and the likely impact the newly constructed Dangote refinery would have on the industry, Ajaero replied that market forces will ensure monopoly in the oil sector.

He said, “How can there be market forces if Dangote is the only person producing? Are we not repeating a private sector monopoly?

“Why is the Port Harcourt refinery not working? Why is the Warri refinery not working? Why is the Kaduna refinery not working? Unless there are other players in the sector, we can’t be talking of market forces. We can’t be talking of competition in the sector. We can’t have a single market participant in the sector and we are talking of market forces.

“It doesn’t go that way. Between now and December, if care is not taken, if it is only Dangote that is producing, a litre of oil will be selling for over N1,000. So the argument doesn’t make sense to us.”

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