NGF Set To Meet Organized Labour On Planned Removal Of Fuel Subsidy ― Fayemi

The 36 State Governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has concluded plans to meet with the leadership of the two labour movements, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on the proposed removal of fuel subsidy.

The NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who disclosed this at the end of the first meeting in the 2022 fiscal year, argued that the issue relating to petroleum products pricing is exclusive to Federal Government, adding that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is saddled with the responsibility going forward.

He said: “The Forum also discussed the issue around petroleum subsidy and concluded to engage the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress on how best to address this issue without causing any disaffection with a view to salvaging the Nigerian economy for the Nigerian people at the end of the day.

“So we shall be engaging Nigeria Labour Congress as subnational leaders and with a view to ensuring that the outcome of our engagement will also be fed into the national discourse.”

While responding to a question on the position of the Governors on the removal of fuel subsidy, Governor Fayemi said: “To the best of my knowledge the report you are talking about is not a report from the Governors, it wasn’t the report from the Governors’ Forum. The National Economic Council chaired by the vice president of Nigeria has been dealing with this issue over time. And really it is not up to subnational to decide on what happens to PMS prices, it is the entirely exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.

“However, we are critical stakeholders and we are members of the National Economic Council so we contribute to debate in the National Economic Council but ultimately whatever we contribute to, it is the decision of the national economic council, it is not the decision of Governors, especially in view of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, that’s taken out of our hands completely. It’s a matter for the petroleum sector.

“Well for us at the Forum, it is a matter that is going concerned. We don’t have a definitive issue on it because it is left for the petroleum industry. It is not for us, NNPC is now a private company and the company should decide what it wants to do with the price of the product, it shouldn’t really be the business of the Governors,” he stressed.

While responding to the hard stance of the Forum against the Federal Government’s unilateral decision on the sale of power assets, the NGF Chairman who reaffirmed the Forum’s stance, disclosed that a committee has been set up to review the initiative.

He said: “Well, assets that we discussed relate to assets from the NIPP which belong to federal, state, and local governments.

“And our view as expressed is that you cannot dispose of the assets without the concurrence of joint owners of the assets.

“And we are still on that because the joint owners at the level of state are still making inputs to a Committee that was set up to review this matter and further engage the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, host of those assets, and the Bureau of Public Enterprises.”

On the Electoral Act, Governor Fayemi who applauded the Senate for acceding to Mr. President’s decision to amend Section 84(2) of the Electoral Act Amendment bill, by capturing direct, indirect, and consensus primary in the selection of elective officeholders, tasked the House of Representatives to revisit the bill without further delay.

He said: “Governors commended the Senate of the Federal Republic for accelerating the removal of the contentious clause in the draft Electoral bill and hope that the second chamber.

“The House of Representatives will also follow suit, so that the revised Electoral bill can return to Mr. President for assent so that, that can then enable various institutions, particularly INEC to proceed at pace with the responsibility towards the various elections in 2022 and 2023.”

Speaking further, Governor Fayemi explained that the Forum also received a presentation from the presidential enabling environment council (PEVEC) on the ease of doing business and discuss the next phase of the ease of doing a business survey with the special adviser to Mr. President on ease of doing business, Dr. Oduwole and the Country Director of the World Bank, Dr. Shubham Chaudhuri.”

He added that the presentation elaborated on the need to step up the reform towards increasing investment climate at the subnational level.

According to him, the Governors during the meeting also reviewed the recently launched National Development Plan 2021-2025 with a view to ensuring that the national development plan is aligned into an individual State development plan that has been produced or in the process of being produced to ensure synergy between the development efforts by the Federal as well as State Governments.

While giving an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, the NGF Chairman explained that the Governors also discussed the health update, particularly the Covid-19 infection, and expressed happiness that the current omicron variant has been declining progressively.

“However, we also noted that there’s a need for states led by us to ramp up the covid-19 vaccination exercise.

“On nutrition, it remains a priority of the government. Governors concluded that we need to increase our support for budgetary provisions for our nutrition,” Governor Fayemi noted.





By Kehinde Akintola,
Nigerian Tribune

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