FUEL SCARCITY: WE WILL NEVER SUPPORT ANY PLAN BY FG TO INCREASE PUMP PRICE – NUPENG
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), has warned against any increase in fuel pump price, saying that Labour would react appropriately should the Federal Government increase price.
President of NUPENG, Comrade Igwe Achese, said in a chat with our correspondent that the union dud not believe in fuel price increase, hence, it would never support it.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachukwu has said that the current pump price of N145 per litre is not sustainable, because the landing cost is now N171, due to the dollar exchange rate.
This, according to the minister has led to the current fuel scarcity, because the independent marketers can no longer import; thus leaving the import solely to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
To end the acute fuel scarcity, he gave three options, which include a special arrangement by the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide forex for fuel importers at N131 to a dollar, rather than the general public exchange rate; go back to the era of subsidy or allow the independent marketers to sell at their own price.
This was perceived by Nigerians as a ploy by the government to increase pump price; going by the earlier demands and calls by the marketers for price increase.
However, the NUPENG President said any plan to increase fuel price in any or through any means would not be supported; adding that he would not even want to talk about fuel price increase.
Comrade Achese said: “I don’t believe in any increase and I don’t want to talk about it. Should there be any we will react appropriately.”
Meanwhile, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayiba Wabba, said the pump price of N145 per litre is sacrosanct; adding that in their meeting with the Federal Government and other stakeholders last week Tuesday and subsequent meetings, the issue of price increase was never on the table or in the agenda.
The NLC President said President Muhammadu Buhari, had indicated, as revealed during the meeting held at the Presidential Villa that the issue of price increase should not be contemplated.
Wabba said the issue on the table is how to make product available at the current price, sustained and monitor distribution.
“It (price increase) was not actually on the table. The only thing on the table, which we are presently discussing is how to make product available at the price of N145 per liter. Nobody has the mandate to discuss the issue of price. The price at N145 is sacrosanct, all we discussed at the meeting is how to make product available.
“The President initially, when he said we should have that meeting, said the price must remain N145, and we should look at how to make product available and look at factors responsible for the shortage in the month of December. So, that is the only mandate we are discussing.
“The issue of pump price increase is not on the table now, nobody is contemplating that. The issue is not on the table, it is not contemplated at all. Let us limit ourselves to where we are, because that gives room for speculations and the marketers may begin to do what will not be favourable to consumers and the generality of the citizens.
“What is on the table now is to make products available at the prevailing rate. That is what everybody is aware; anything outside that is not actually on the table and nobody is trying to bring it on the table.”