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Proposed petroleum tax: NLC threatens showdown, writes government

Posted by By FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja on 2008/01/11 | Views: 346 |

Proposed petroleum tax: NLC threatens showdown, writes government


Labour yesterday picked up the gauntlet against government over the reported planned introduction of 5 per cent tax on petroleum products contained in the proposed amendment to the Act establishing the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), warning against the move in the interest of industrial harmony in the country.

Labour yesterday picked up the gauntlet against government over the reported planned introduction of 5 per cent tax on petroleum products contained in the proposed amendment to the Act establishing the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), warning against the move in the interest of industrial harmony in the country.

It vowed to resist the proposal by mobilizing the nation’s workforce against it.
Expressing worry that the proposal, which disclosure was credited to the Managing Director of FERMA, Mr. Olubunmi Peters, was coming at a time the issue of fuel price was becoming contentious, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) warned the Federal Government in a letter through the Minister of State for Energy (Petroleum) and copied the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Ambassador Babagana Kingibe on the danger of the proposal sailing through.

In the letter, signed by the President of the congress, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, labour expressed concerns about media reports of the proposed 5 per cent tax on petroleum products, pointing out that if the comments of the FERMA boss was anything to go by, then the contents of the proposed amendment “are entirely unwarranted and are capable of fouling the process of building sustainable trust between government and Labour.”

“It is surprising that a federal agency is virtually repudiating the assurances of the administration that it has no plans to increase fuel prices,” Labour stated.
While noting that it was gratified over the discussions on Tuesday with the minister on the need to consensually evolve a framework to guarantee stability in the prices of petroleum products beyond the current government/Labour agreement, the congress said it was equally alarmed by clear signals to the contrary being sent by FERMA’s managing director.

For the avoidance of labour reaction, the NLC warned the Federal Government not to contemplate any such proposal, let alone forward it to the National Assembly. “Labour will certainly mobilize to oppose any such proposal. If the statements by FERMA’s chief executive and the so-called FERMA Bill do not represent the views and intentions of this administration, it is necessary that they are immediately and categorically refuted,” he stated.

He argued that it was only by shelving the proposal that the Federal Government can assure Labour and Nigerians of continuing commitment to the process of engagement to guarantee price stability which began through yesterday’s meeting with your good self.”

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