The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has faulted the new provision for fuel importation in the Petroleum Industry Bill, stating that it will serve the interest of few individuals.
The Senate had introduced a new provision in the bill (sub-section 8 of section 317) which states that Nigerian midstream and downstream petroleum regulatory authority shall apply the backward integration policy in the downstream petroleum sector to encourage investment in local refining.
Part of the Bill reads, “To support this, license to import any product shortfalls shall be assigned only to companies with active local refining licenses. Import volume to be allocated between participants based on their respective production in the preceding quarter.”
However, the Union claimed that the lawmakers’ position on the Bill showed that it is only seeking to serve the interest of a selected individuals.
According to the statement signed by TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and the Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, the provision would endanger the sector and country at large, as it may empower a few individuals over others.
It said, “The labour chiefs are surprised, dismayed and irritated by the conspiracy to waste another opportunity to fix the sector, noting that from the lawmakers’ position and body language one could infer they are serving the interest of some few individuals to the detriment of the over 97 per cent of the country’s population but the congress will not allow that to happen.
“The market should be left open if the government truly wants to be sincere in addressing the problem of the sector.
“The labour leaders urge the lawmakers to rise up and provide true leadership instead of serving the interest of few capitalists.
“It is high time ‘these principalities and powers’ removed their knees from the neck of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“We are only saying the sector should be left open so the destiny of the country will not be in the hands of a few individuals.”