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NLC Absent As FG Meets With TUC Over Petrol Subsidy

A Federal government delegation is in a meeting with representatives of organised labour at the presidential villa, Abuja, over the removal of subsidy on petrol.

Gatekeepers News reports that the meeting between representatives of the TUC and federal government is ongoing, however, The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) didn’t make the meeting.

Initiated by the Federal government, the meeting began around 5 pm, with the consequences of petrol subsidy removal, on the agenda.

NLC President Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Festus Osifo, had told state house correspondents after the first meeting that the government must return to the old price of petrol or workers will embark on a nationwide strike billed to commence next Wednesday.

The meeting comes five days after a first meeting with the new government on the same issue, ended in a deadlock.

The Federal government’s team is being led at the talks by secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) George Akume; governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; the group chief executive officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari; and former governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole.

Also in the meeting are the executive secretary of the national sugar development council (NSDC), Zacch Adedeji; executive vice president, downstream, of the NNPCL, Yemi Adetunji; former Lagos state commissioner for information and strategy, Dele Alake; James Faleke, among others.

On the TUC side are seven members led by the organisation’s president Osifo.

During his inauguration speech on May 29, President Bola Tinubu had said “petrol subsidy is gone”.

The president’s pronouncement immediately led to a resurfacing of long queues at gas stations and a hike in the pump price of the product across the country.

Federal government representatives at the last meeting included Dele Alake, spokesperson for the government’s delegation; Group CEO of NNPCL Mele Kyari; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele; and Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo state.

NLC President Ajaero had in a statement on May 31 titled: “That NNPCL pricing template is vexatious and an ambush: the dialogue is in danger”, said they will not continue with the dialogue unless the new price regime is withdrawn.

The NLC statement read as follows: “We are worried that the government through the NNPCL despite the ongoing meeting of stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to manage the unilateral but unfortunate announcement by the president to withdraw subsidy on petroleum products, went ahead this morning to announce a new regime of prices under a new pricing template.

“This is an ambush and runs against the spirit and principles of social dialogue which remains the best platform available for the resolution of all the issues arising out of the petroleum down-stream sector.

“Government cannot in one breath be talking about deregulation and at the same time fixing the prices of petroleum products. This negates the spirit of allowing the operation of the free market unless the government has as usual usurped, captured or become market forces.

“It is therefore unacceptable and we seriously condemn it. Good faith negotiation is key to reaching agreement. What the government has done is like holding a gun to the head of the Nigerian people and bringing undue pressure on the leaders thus undermining the dialogue.

“We call on the federal government to immediately instruct the NNPCL to withdraw this vexatious pricing template to allow free flow of discussions by the parties.”

Meanwhile, President Tinubu will also meet with APC senators-elect, house of reps members-elect, and APC national working committee (NWC) members today at 7:00pm, at the presidential villa.

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