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*tasks FG, labour on transparent implementation of subsidy removal Plan

By Michael Oche

Centre for Transparency Advocacy has asked the Federal Government and organised labour to ensure that the best interests of Nigerians are prioritize as they negotiate the removal of subsidy on petrol.

Organised Labour led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Monday agreed to suspend their planned strike action to continue negotiations with the government on subsidy removal.

But the CTA said the joint committee should set up by government and labour must develop a transparent implementation plan for the resolutions.

“This plan should outline clear timelines, responsibilities, and performance indicators to ensure accountability and progress monitoring. Transparency and appropriate broad-based stakeholder consultations in the execution of the planned measures are crucial to maintaining public trust and ensuring the effective delivery of benefits to Nigerians,” CTA Executive Director, Faith Nwadishi said in a statement on Thursday

The group said while the resolutions reached between government and labour demonstrate positive steps towards addressing subsidy-related issues, it is of the opinion that these resolutions are very long termed and so emphasizes the importance of further actions to better serve the immediate interests of Nigerians.

Nwadishi said immediate reduction in PMS Price to Cushion Citizens’ Pains as June 30th approaches is one of such short term measures to consider.

She said, “the need for an immediate reduction in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to reflect the proposed date of subsidy removal, which is set for the 30th of June 2023. This reduction is crucial to alleviate the sudden financial burden on citizens while the palliatives plan is implemented immediately.

“As the government and stakeholders work towards the successful implementation of the proposed palliatives, it is essential to take into consideration the immediate concerns of Nigerians who have been affected by the recent fuel price hike. Lowering the PMS price in anticipation of the subsidy removal will provide immediate relief to citizens, ensuring that their pains are cushioned during this transitional period.”

Nwadishi said further that the federal government, TUC, and NLC should clarify the specific timeframe for the utilization of the World Bank loan of $800M, adding that this will ensure that the funds are allocated and utilized effectively for projects with high impact, such as infrastructure development, job creation, and economic diversification.

She said, “Alternative Palliatives to Cash Transfers: In addition to reviewing the cash transfer scheme, the CTA recommends exploring alternative palliative measures that have an immediate and impactful effect on the lives of Nigerians. These may include subsidized transportation fares, targeted support for vulnerable populations, and the provision of essential commodities at affordable prices.”

She noted that these approach will address the immediate challenges posed by the fuel price hike and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable transition away from subsidy reliance.

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