The Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has advised other trade unions in Nigeria to change their positions and stop supporting payment of subsidy on petroleum products.
The Association stated that the payment of subsidy on petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, is not to the advantage of the Nigerian masses but only favour few individuals.
Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, the PENGASSAN President, Comrade Babatunde Ogun, argued that the subsidy regime only benefits few individuals who have constituted themselves into a cabal.
Ogun said: “It is high time labour stops saying no to the removal of subsidy and look beyond ordinary reasoning to support the government against a policy and process that has been bleeding the country dry as well as stunting the growth of the nation’s downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
“The money being used in payment of subsidy to these few individuals who are enriching themselves at the expense of the whole Nigeria can be channelled towards other developmental projects, especially the nation’s ailing and dilapidated infrastructures.”
Instead of supporting payment of subsidy on petroleum products, Comrade Ogun said labour unions should put pressure on the government to subsidize necessary infrastructures such as power, rail transportation, healthcare and education, as being done in other countries.
He said: “There are few important sectors that labour can fight that the government should subsidize without enriching few individuals and can better the lots of the masses.
“Power is the bedrock of any country’s development and with regular supply of power, the small and medium scale and the informal sector of the economy can grow. Instead of erratic and epileptic power supply and irrational hike in electricity charges, labour should channel their protest and struggle to ensure that this important sector that can jumpstart and grow the nation’s economy is subsidized.
“Also, rail transportation can alleviate the suffering of the masses and reduce congestion on our roads. Rail is a veritable means of mass transportation use in the developed countries. The nation’s healthcare and educational system are in sorry states and the government can subsidize these all important sectors to the benefit of the Nigerian masses.”