Former TUC Chairman Supports Subsidy Removal, Urges Labour to Shelve Planned Protests
Former chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kaduna state chapter, Comrade Paul Jezhi, yesterday in Kano called on the labour Unions not to embark on strike, saying, their decision to protest against the partial withdrawal of fuel subsidy as a failed mission.
Comr. Jezhi, who disclosed this, while addressing journalists Monday, enjoined the labour to engage the government in dialogue with a view to exploring ways of providing palliatives that would cushion the effects of the hike in the price of petroleum products.
He called the organized labour to look at the realities on ground and embrace reasons why the subsidy on petroleum products must be removed, adding that with the removal of subsidy, the unpatriotic activities of the cabals, who have held the oil sector to ransom over the years, would be dismantled.
Comr. Jezhi further argued that the advantage of removal of the subsidy outweighs whatever negative effect it could be causing presently, pointing out that the liberalization of the oil sector will attract both local and foreign investors into the oil market, which will further boost the economy of the country.
According to him, “The removal of subsidy is an inevitable policy action that must be taken. The downstream sector is what touches the masses and the entire public. Before now, it was not feasible to invest in the downstream sector because of the subsidy regime and the regulation policy.”
He further noted that, “with the removal of subsidy, more refineries will spring up, there will be more vessels to export petroleum products, and there will be more revenue for the government and the people. There will be more job opportunities; and we will begin to export petroleum products, instead of importing them.”
Comrade Jezhi, who is also an activist, said that already, he has been in touch with some labour leaders, “who are my colleagues and from what I gathered from them, most of them are not in support of the proposed strike. So, as a former labour leader, I see no reason in embarking on a strike that is destined to fail. They should suspend the action and sit down to discuss with the government in the interest of the masses.”
He, however, called on Nigerians to live above ‘ethnic and primordial sentiments’ and support government policies that are geared towards improving their lots and also put the country on the right track of development; “In times like this, we need to make sacrifice for the interest of the nation,” he added.