The organized Labour on Tuesday opted to consult its constituent units and Nigerians on the contents of the report of the Technical Committee on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) Pricing Framework submitted to the Federal Government in Abuja.
President Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Also, Ayuba Wabba, said at the presentation of the report in Abuja that organized Labour needed to do a broader consultation to come up with clear positions on what would be beneficial to both the Nigerian workers, and all Nigerians
Mr Wabba said the issue of pricing of petrol in the country touched on the core of every Nigerian’s life and must be looked at exhaustively taking into account all sides of the argument.
“The whole essence of what we are arguing about on the price of petroleum products in the country is how to bring not only price stability for the commodity, but also to ensure their affordability,” Mr Wabba said.
Following Labour’s position, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the bipartite meeting between the Federal Government and organized Labour would adjourn till February 22, for full deliberation on the report.
At the end of the deliberations, the Minister said resolutions on the way forward on the issue would be made public to all Nigerians.
The Technical Committee was constituted by the Federal Government with a mandate to come up with a viable framework for price modulation for petroleum products and electricity tariffs in the country.
The constitution of the committee followed threats of a national strike by the organized labour over the decision by the Federal Government in November 2020 to raise the depot price of petrol from N147.67 to N155.17 per litre, apart from the review of the tariffs for electricity in the country.
The decision compelled fuel marketers across the country to hike the retail price per litre of petrol to between N165 and N173.
Also, the committee was mandated to examine the two policies respectively in relation to the demands of the labour unions.
The meeting is a continuation of the series of meetings held in 2020 in the wake of the announcement by the Federal Government to persuade labour unions from embarking on a nationwide industrial action over the increase in the price of petrol and electricity tariffs.
Mr Ngige said the adjournment of the meeting till February 22 was to enable the representatives of the organized Labour to subject the report to the analysis and review by its various organs.
“The Committee on Petroleum Pricing has finished its work and submitted the report to the Federal Government, which has received and adopted the report.
“Labour also asked for some time to subject the report to a review by their various organs. It is a technical report, so they need further elucidation from their technical and research teams,” he said.
Mr Ngige said the report of the Technical Committee on Electricity Tariff would be ready in a week’s time, and would also be reviewed alongside that of Petroleum Pricing during the reconvened meeting scheduled for February 22.
However, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, expressed concern over the possible effects that the three weeks postponement of the meeting could have on the availability of petroleum products in the market.
Mr Sylva did not expatiate on his concerns.
Earlier, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, assured organized Labour of the government’s commitment to the implementation of decisions reached at the end of the meeting.
“Our pledge on the government side is that whatever decisions would be reached, we will ensure that government honours its own part of the bargain, so that we can maintain and sustain industrial harmony in our nation,” he said.
Others present at the meeting were the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari; the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Yerima Tarfa; Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye; among other government and Labour officials.