The organized labor in Nigeria had, last Friday, gave the government a notice of impending nationwide industrial action if the hike in domestic fuel price was not reversed to suit the aspirations of workers across the country.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed told reporters in Abuja the new price, introduced last Wednesday with immediate effect, was in the interest of the country, as the government could no longer afford the foreign exchange spent by the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to import petrol.
Due to the fall in the price of crude oil in global market, Nigeria’s earnings had dropped to about 550 million U.S dollars in April, while the amount required for fuel importation alone is about half that amount.
“If we continue along this line, we will get to a point where the country will be completely broke. That is why this policy has become absolutely necessary, and we have no option,” he said.
The government spokesman said if the organized labor embarked on any protest at this time, the industrial action might worsen the present situation of the economy.
Mohammed said the Nigerian government was aware that the introduction of a new fuel price might bring suffering, but “this will last for a very short time”.
“It is only going to be a temporary hardship because the moment we liberalize and open up the market, there will be competition and the price will come down and there will be petrol glut,” he added.
He said the government would ensure that the refineries which are already working, work to optimize capacity in efforts to make Nigeria a net exporter of fuel and other petroleum products by 2019. Enditem