Fuel Subsidy Removal: Give Nigerians Palliatives, TUC Tells Tinubu

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) expressed its approval of the Federal Government’s decision to remove fuel subsidy but expressed concern over the continued call for sacrifices from citizens without reciprocating these sacrifices. Festus Osifo, the President of TUC, addressed the media on the state of the nation, emphasizing that the government should provide palliatives so as to ease the effects on Nigerians.

Osifo urged the administration led by Bola Tinubu to set a good example by reducing the number of aides and limiting each new minister to a maximum of two assistants. He highlighted the contradiction of burdening the masses with the removal of fuel subsidy while those in power continue to enjoy wealth and privileges.

Furthermore, Osifo criticized the proposed purchase of new vehicles by the 10th National Assembly, deeming it unpalatable given the current economic situation in the country. The TUC president called for fairness and equity in sharing the burden of fuel subsidy removal and emphasized that the government should not place the entire responsibility on the shoulders of the ordinary citizens

“We are canvassing for a basket that will contain alternatives to PMS, palliatives and reduction of the cost of governance, because, government cannot continuously ask the workers and the battered Nigerian masses to continuously tighten their belt. We have adjusted our belts and we have even exceeded the lap hole, while in government, they are continuously increasing their largesse.

“For us, it shouldn’t be the case of an animal farm where all animals are not equal. We are all Nigerians. If you tell us that there is a crisis, everybody must contribute to solving it. It should not be to the detriment of the downtrodden Nigerian workers.

“The burdens should not all be put on the citizens, they must be willing to tell us the sacrifices they are willing to make,” he said.

Osifo likewise requested the government to expedite work of the several committees overseeing the consultation on the withdrawal of fuel subsidies.

He noted that the Congress could only support concrete incentives that would be transparent and tangible, adding that they would not tolerate any additional attempts by the government to impose cash transfer palliatives.

On the proposed increase on electricity tariff, he said; “You would be adding salt to people’s injuries if you increase the electricity tariff. Nigerians’ endurance level is getting to the limit. It may get to the point where Nigerians will not be able to take this anymore.

“When you are bringing about policies even when the policies are the best, you must look at the timing and how to phase them out for you not to make the citizens suffer.

“We also say no to the proposed 7.5 percent VAT on AGO. It has been deregulated and the market forces are what determine the price. Today, if you introduce the VAT on AGO, we should be ready that this similar VAT will be introduced to PMS. As of today, they are listening but we have communicated with some of our affiliates that are directly responsible for this to continuously monitor if the government wants to introduce this through the backdoor.”

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