By Segun Oniyide
The General Secretary of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Mr. Bayo Olowoshile, has called on President Goodluck Jonathan not to ratify the decision of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) to remove subsidy on petroleum products.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that the decision would add to the economic pains facing Nigerians.
He said the decision was unacceptable to the union, adding that removing the subsidy without any corresponding increase in purchasing power would have a negative multiplier effect on all aspects of the economy.
Government must ensure of the turn around maintenance of all the refineries before removing subsidy.
We told government at a meeting we held in January that certain conditions must be met before the removal.
Government must fix the four refineries and build new ones.
The corruption associated with supply and distribution of petroleum products in the downstream sector of the oil industry must be eliminated.
“There must be regular power supply and provision of social infrastructure in order to encourage private sector to invest in the sector’’, Olowoshile said.
He said the union executives would soon meet and come out with its official position on the matter.
Similarly, the National President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Malam Bobboi Kaigama, said the congress was totally against the decision.
He said government should completely ignore the position of FAAC in the interest of Nigerians who are faced daily with challenges of how to cope with life.
TUC is totally against subsidy removal in whatever form. We advise the government to completely ignore the decision of the FAAC.
We would consider any attempt by the government to withdraw fuel subsidy now as a breach of trust of the Nigerian people, especially workers’’, Kaigama said, FAAC had Tuesday ratified its committee’s decision to remove petroleum subsidy.
FAAC had set up the committee in March to look into the possible removal of fuel subsidy.
The committee comprised the Commissioners’ Forum, the Customs, State Accountants General and the Minister of State for Finance among others