This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Fuel Scarcity - NLC Warns Against Imminent Halt to National Economy

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter, but imported fuel for cars has been scarce across the country for weeks. Drivers are frustrated at having to ... ( Resource: Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Drag On

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday warned that the Nigerian economy would soon grind to a halt if the ongoing scarcity of petrol was not immediately addressed.

NLC said in a statement that was signed by its President in Abuja, Abdulwahed Omar, that the ongoing scarcity had greatly slowed down economic activities in the country.

Omar also alleged in the statement that the government was deliberately punishing Nigerians with the fuel scarcity, thus asked the federal government to stop punishing Nigerians with the scarcity.

"The scarcity of the product and long queues at fuel stations has clearly slowed down productivity and its attendant effect on service delivery and production in the economy," Omar said.

While shedding more light on the congress's thoughts of the scarcity, Omar stated: "We believe the government can do better by immediately bringing supplies of these products to its normal status because the economy may be halted soon should the scarcity continue. "Nigerians can only hold the federal government responsible for the scarcity and not the marketers.

We didn't elect marketers to govern us. Government must take full responsibility for the scarcity and take decisive steps to restore normalcy urgently."

He explained that since the last few weeks when scarcity of petroleum products started, workers and the Nigerian people had experienced excruciating hardship and trauma with incoherent excuses from marketers and ostensible helplessness from the federal government as well as relevant agencies responsible to rectify the deplorable situation.

"While importers claim the unnecessary delay in obtaining import approvals from the federal government, which enables them import the products early enough to meet up with public demands, is the cause of the scarcity; the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) insists the products is available, but the marketers are hoarding it to deliberately increase prices. "The recent announcement by the NNPC that it has supplied 50 million litres of fuel to marketers and intensified its monitoring exercise to check hoarding of the product has not ameliorated, but heightened the sufferings of Nigerians as prices have continued to skyrocket with a litre of fuel selling between N500-N800 in the parallel market," Omar said.

He also stated that the tirade and buck passing between the corporation and marketers indicated an attempt to deliberately inflict hardship on Nigerians so as to accept increase in fuel prices.

He however warned of such, saying: "We hope this is not the case, as the labour movement will resist any attempt to further impoverish the working people with increase in fuel prices. "It is bad enough that our country have to be importing products it produces, and scandalous that government have not been able to fix the rots in the petroleum industry despite promises publicly made by successive governments between 1999 and now."

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