NUPENG, PENGASSAN speak on IMF advice for fuel subsidy removal

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Workers in the oil and gas sector on Sunday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to shun any counsel that would destabilise or cause chaos in the economy.

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) gave the advice in a statement in Lagos.

The statement was signed by Mr Okugbawa Lumumba, PENGASSAN General Secretary and Afolabi Olawale, NUPENG’s General Secretary.

The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, had on April 12 called on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy because of low revenue mobilisation that existed in terms of tax to Gross Domestic Product.

The unions said that the IMF advice on how to recover Nigerian economy was worrisome as it had become counter productive.

“Any economic policy that is devoid of human feelings can lead to more social dislocations and upheavals, which will later become counterproductive as currently experienced,’’ they said.

The unions said that IMF had created panic in the country with associated hoarding of petroleum products, panic buying, increase in prices of goods and services in the country.

It said that earlier, the IMF chief praised the significant progress the nation had made in terms of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that increased by 1.9 per cent in 2018 from 0.8 per cent in 2017.

It said that the IMF was not considering the pains and agonies the people went through to achieve the gains of 2018, with almost two-thirds of the world’s hungriest people among Nigerians.

The unions also cautioned that imposing more stringent reforms in domestic revenue mobilisation including increase in VAT and securing more domestic oil revenues through subsidy removal was an attempt to destabilise the nation.

The unions, in the statement, appealed to Buhari to put in mind the current hardship the people were going through in their collective journey to economic recovery.

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