The umbrella body for private sector employers in the country, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has faulted the plan by labour to go on strike, urging the private sector employees to ignore the strike directive and go about their normal businesses.
In a related story, The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) said on Saturday it would stand strongly in support of the federal government’s resolve to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
The declaration of support by the aircraft pilots and engineers came barely few hours after the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC; Trade Union Congress, TUC and their affiliates and allies in the civil society issued a 96-hour ultimatum to government to rescind the decision or face the wrath of their members.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, told reporters in Abuja that the policy, which resulted in the hike in petrol price from N86.50 per litre to N145, was rejected because it was “unrealistic, unaffordable, and unacceptable.”
But, NAAPE, in a contrasting opinion, described the deregulation policy as a step in the right direction, pointing out that although it was long overdue, it was better late than never.
National President, Isaac Balami, who commended the government for the bold decision, said the subsidy scheme was extremely fraud-prone, adding that trying to reform the process was like “attempting to reform Satan (devil) – an impossibility task”.
“Our advice to the government is to use the money that will be saved to put in place infrastructures that will create jobs for Nigerians; ensuring that our refineries are working optimally, and encouraging local production to ameliorate the temporary hardship the citizen are going through,” Mr. Balami said.
He said the operators in the aviation industry, government must begin the refining of the aviation fuel, popularly called Jet A1 from the Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries, to help reduce the costs of operation and flight tickets, since fuel alone constituted about 30 to 40 per cent of operational cost.
Mr. Balami said government should also look into the issue ofestablishing a national carrier as promised or strengthen the local domestic carriers as soon as possible, as the industry was currently at a standstill.