The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has vehemently opposed the World Bank’s recommendation to increase the price of petroleum to ₦750 per litre, warning that such a move could lead to anarchy in the country. The World Bank had proposed the increase, suggesting that the current petrol prices, ranging between ₦620 and ₦650 per litre, are not fully adjusting to market conditions due to government subsidies.
During the presentation of the Nigeria Development Update on December 13, 2023, the World Bank’s lead economist for Nigeria, Alex Sienaert, called for the complete removal of fuel subsidy and an increase in petrol prices to ₦750/litre. This proposition aligns with the stance of oil marketers who have advocated for a higher petrol price, claiming that it should be ₦1,000 per litre without government subsidies.
The Nigerian government has rebuffed both the World Bank’s proposal and the assertions made by oil marketers regarding the reintroduction of subsidy for petrol. In response to the World Bank’s recommendation, the NLC’s Head of Information, Benson Upah, expressed concerns over the potential consequences of further fuel price hikes.
In an interview with The Punch, Upah labeled the World Bank as a “predatory institution,” accusing it of having little or no consideration for the welfare of Nigerians. He criticized the bank’s globalist approach and its impact on economies in the global south.
“The World Bank is globalist north in thoughts and actions and has little or no consideration for the global south. It is a predatory institution that the global north uses to justify its crimes against the south,” Upah asserted.
He continued, “It does not care what happens to Nigeria or Nigerians so it could from its perch in Washington say whatever it likes or push around our leaders like house-helps.”
Upah highlighted the existing challenges posed by the current pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and emphasized that further raising it to ₦750 per litre would invite anarchy in the country. He urged the government to reject the World Bank’s proposal and emphasized the need to focus on fulfilling its commitment to combating corruption in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
The NLC’s strong opposition to the suggested fuel price hike reflects growing concerns among Nigerians about the economic implications such an increase could have on their livelihoods. As the debate intensifies, the government faces the delicate task of balancing economic considerations with the welfare of its citizens.