Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) opposes privatisation of refineries

As the proposed strike by the looms in the early period of 2014, The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has backed moves by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) to go on strike this year to protest bid by the federal government to sell the nation's four refineries.

It warned that the privatisation of the refineries would cause more hardship to the masses, adding that Nigerians are bound to react against any ‘bad policy.’

NUPENG has already expressed its preparedness to mobilise its members for a nationwide strike to resist the proposed sale.

The NLC, in its New Year message to workers, described as unfortunate the poor state of the refineries and advised that the government, instead of selling off the refineries, should provide incentives to attract private refiners to operate side by side with the public refineries.

In the message signed by NLC National President, Abdulwahed Omar and acting General Secretary, Chris Uyot, the union described the privatisation bid as a ‘smokescreen for distribution of national assets to cronies and political hangers-on.’

“It is our view that the selling off of such vital assets as the refineries is a weighty enough issue which should not be embarked upon without an open national debate. Given that the country is in the process of embarking on a national dialogue, the issue should be apprehended as part of the agenda of the dialogue,” it said.

In the message, the NLC spoke on issues ranging from corruption, security, extra-judicial killings, oil theft, the new automotive policy, the economy, inflation and social development.

It presented a recap of last year and asked the government to sustain robust industrial relations machinery to avoid a repeat of the strikes which were experienced in various sectors in 2013.

“The cost of governance continues to undermine national development. A cursory examination of our national budgets reveals huge sums allocated to frivolous items of comfort of government officials. These include building and re-building of accommodation and offices, expansion of the presidential air fleet, entertainment and feeding, among others. In addition, high remunerations and perquisites, out of tune with the realities of the economy, enjoyed by political office holders continue to rob the nation of vital resources needed for the transformation of the lives of the majority of Nigerians who continue to battle poverty and deprivation,” it read.

Speaking on job creation, the congress noted that although the government itself has acknowledge the enormity of the challenges posed by the nation’s high rate of unemployment, the 2014 budget, which was tagged “a budget for job creation”, is not different from previous budgets.

“...we are worried however, that other than the labelling, there is nothing in the budget which is significantly different from previous budgets. The structure, scope and policies follow closely previous budgets which have not significantly delivered on job creation,” it said.
The NLC appealed to all levels of government to prioritise job creation and deploy policies to promote the policy.

“Government spending on projects and programmes must be evaluated in part on the basis of how many jobs such projects and programmes will create. Sectors of the economy with high job elasticity of growth need to be identified with a view to initiating policies to promote growth in such sectors. In this way the malady of jobless growth, which has come to characterise the economy, can be moderated,” it added.

Credit: Damilola Oyedele/ThisDay

I reserved my comment as pros and cons of privatisation is not my area of expertise :)


  1. They are just being self centered, they don't have the interest of the country at heart

  2. Privatization will help. I dont think it will affect jobs in any way.

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