Don’t Limit Fuel Import to Few Operators-TUC

•‘It’s Treacherous, Monopolistic and Corrupt.

By Ernest Omoarelojie

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has sent what appears to be a subtle warning to the federal government over the latter’s alleged decision to grant fuel import licence to a few players in the oil and gas sector.
In a statement signed by Comrades Quadri Olaleye and Musa-Lawal Ozigi, President and General Secretary respectively, the union describes the alleged plan as monopolistic, one it said the country cannot afford to continue toying with in the interest of sanity in the oil and gas sector.
According to the TUC, the sector remains the only major source of foreign exchange for the country, a reason why it must be opened market competition if indeed the government wants to be seen as sincere in addressing the sector’s multiple challenges.
“The congress is not against the companies holding refining licence. 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,” the union said.
While wondering over why the country’s law makers fail to recognize that opening the sector to competition will create more employment opportunities, TUC urges the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, first consider how well are the products and markets controlled by those to whom the licence will be granted before rewarding them again with more monopolistic hold on the sector.
The fact, the union added, is that the monopoly they being engendered has not only stagnated the sector, it is also morally, economically and legally wrong given that it tends to impoverish Nigeria and Nigerians.
“The pertinent questions are: how well are the products and markets controlled by these same few people doing? Why are the lawmakers failing to see the large number of companies and employment that could be created when more investors are allowed to invest?Are these people (lawmakers) not disturbed by the unprecedented insecurity challenge in the country caused by unemployment? How long are these people going to continue to exploit the country?
There is no sugarcoating the matter, the capitalist trajectory in Nigeria is morally, economically, and legally wrong as it tends to impoverish Nigeria and Nigerians. It hinders the country’s financial and economic progress because it transfers a huge chunk of public wealth to favoured businessmen,” TUC said.
The union also wants the government to realize that continuing to create a monopolistic tendency in the oil and gas sector is a treachery and serious form of economic corruption.
“This is not only treacherous but also a serious form of corruption. We urge them to use their money for the social benefits of all; after all, they enjoy forex largesse financed by Nigerians’hard earned oil revenue.
We are calling on the government, especially the legislative arm, to rescind their decision immediately as it would only worsen the problem it is meant to solve. Nigerians are going through a very difficult period, and no bill against protest can stop us from opposing undemocratic and dictatorial laws and policies of government,” the union surmised.

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