The pressure by organised Labour on the Federal Government to reverse the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) back to N160 per litre seems to be yielding fruits.
At the end of the resumed negotiations between government and the labour movement yesterday night, the Federal Government indicated willingness to consult widely with the view to reviewing the price downward, saying it might unveil the new price at the resumed meeting slated for December 7.
The Federal Government said the period between now and then would allow it embark on a wide range consultation over Labour’s request.
Labour is insisting that the pump price must be reviewed downward to N160 before negotiations can proceed on the hike in electricity tariffs and deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who disclosed this at the end of the latest meeting between the Federal Government and organised Labour on the recent increases in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, added that the meeting agreed to let the government side consult with their principal and every relevant authority on the request of the Labour
He stated: “The message from the organised Labour is clear; they want a reversal of the pump price of PMS. The parties have agreed to let the government side consult their principal on that. We will consult the President, minister of Petroleum and the Economic Management Team.”
The minister noted that though it was no longer the responsibility of government to fix the pump price of PMS as it had been deregulated, the matter still fell within the realm of the economy.
On the issue of the electricity tariff, Ngige said the committee working on it, headed by the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, already had an interim report and would use the opportunity created by the adjournment of the meeting to undertake field visits to the different Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria and come back with a more comprehensive report.
Earlier at the start of the meeting, Ngige had stated that nobody was immune from the effect of the increase of both the pump price of PMS and electricity tariff, but stated that conversations on the issues should be handled with caution in order not to grind the economy to a halt.
Also speaking, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, assured the organised Labour that every decision of government would always be based on the welfare and wellbeing of the people of Nigeria.
“I believe that working together with you, crafting agreements and negotiating terms, would all be done with an overarching interest of the people of Nigeria as the centre- piece.”
President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, on behalf of the Labour, asked for sincerity of purpose and open-mindedness from the government side.
He added: “We want to reach an agreement that would move the country forward and especially satisfy the expectations of Nigerian workers.”