FG meeting with NLC on subsidy ends in deadlock



Dele Alake, spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu, addresses journalists after a meeting between the Federal Government and NLC over fuel subsidy removal on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The meeting between the Federal Government, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) over fuel subsidy removal has ended without a consensus, as the unions insisted on reversion to status quo.

The meeting which began around 4 pm on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had representatives of the Federal Government included Dele Alake, the spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu; and the Group CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari.

Other government officials present were the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

The Organised Labour was represented by the NLC National President, Joe Ajaero; and the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo.

While federal government’s spokesperson, Dele Alake, told newsmen after the five-hour long meeting that it was a robust engagement, the president of NLC, Joe Ajaero, said labour insisted on reversion of subsidy.

Alake explained that, “We had a very robust engagement. We cross-fertilised ideas, from all sides but one remarkable thing even from the labour side, is ‘Nigeria’. We are all looking at the progress and stability of Nigeria”.

meanwhile, Ajaero believed that no consensus was reached at the meeting, “.  As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting, returning to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people if subsidy is removed.”

Ajaero was of the opinion that the government could not respect the sanctity of the law that provided for fuel subsidy expenditure up till the end of June 2023. He said there was no country in the world that did not subsidise the living of their citizens, stressing also that, as long as Nigeria imports refined petroleum, the cost would be high.

President of TUC, Felix Usifo, said the unions would go and consult their members before deciding on the next meeting with the government.


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