… Urges Labour to shelve planned strike
Chris Brown , Abuja
The Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) has expressed supports for the Federal Government’s withdrawal of fuel subsidy in its efforts to reposition the down-stream sector and revamp the economy.
The Council also called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their planned nationwide strike and embrace dialogue in the national interest.
A statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by IPAC National Publicity Secretary, ChiefOgbuehi Duke urged the Federal Government to move beyond withdrawal of subsidy and fully deregulate the down-stream sector of the oil and gas industry.
It argued that the regime of subsidy had always been unsustainable and has, indeed, been a tool for enriching a few people at the expense of ordinary Nigerians.
“Fuel is an economic asset, not a social service. It must be used to advance the economic interest and wellbeing of our nation and not used as a tool for patronage and selective enrichment.
IPAC notes and regrets the pain the removal of subsidy may cause those Nigerians who are able to obtain fuel at its official price.
It also notes and regrets the spillover effect the policy may have on cost of transportation, commerce and consumer goods in the short term. However, in the long term, removal of subsidy is the right thing to do. Before now, subsidy had been the bane of diesel supply but since it was removed, diesel has been available everywhere at a stable price” it said .
The Council advised that billions of naira saved from the removal of fuel subsidy should be invested in diversifying the economy particularly agricultural sector, that will ensure national food sufficiency, create wealth and employment to millions of unemployed youths.
“Part of the savings should also be used to offer immediate palliatives to the general public that will cushion the effect of possible rise in the cost of road transport.
The need to create an efficient public transport system to include a healthy mix of road, water and rail mass transit cannot be overemphasized. We call on the Federal Government to accelerate the completion of the on-going railway project because it doesn’t make sense to move over 180 million people by road alone” it suggested .