As reactions continue to trail the new policy on petrol pricing, the Acting Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs. Ngozi Ekeoba has appealed to organized labour and the civil society to embrace dialogue with government over the matter and shelve their planned massive strike action, insisting that strikes have never helped Nigeria.
Receiving the leadership of Conscience Nigeria, a civil society organization, in her office during an advocacy visit, Ekeoba urged Nigerians to be patient with government as the gains of this new policy will far outweigh the temporary pains that citizens are dealing with.
The NOA boss explained that the policy was necessitated by the short fall in the foreign exchange available to petroleum importers from the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding however, that with the new deregulation and pricing policy, market competition will force down the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, in the near future as proven in other previously deregulated areas such as telephony. She said it will also prevent the diversion of Nigerian PMS supply to neighbouring nations as has been the case under the subsidy regime and therefore urged Nigerians to always toe the path of peace and dialogue in resolving disputes to avoid a blanket rejection of good policies.
In his brief, the Executive Director of Conscience Nigeria, Comrade Tosin Adeyanju said a coalition of non-governmental organizations led by Conscience Nigeria had deliberated upon the new policy and agreed that subsidy removal is the best for Nigeria at this time as the country cannot afford to keep subsidizing the rich at the expense of the poor.
He however called on government to immediately implement short term palliative measures such as provision of cheap mass transit systems to cushion the immediate effects of the policy, noting that the measures so far announced by government are only long term. He also canvassed that government should use all Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation mega filling stations to sell PMS specifically to the poor at the minimum price possible under the new price regime as another short term palliative.
Adeyanju also condemned the call by Labour for a shutdown of services, stressing that it will not augur well for the nation and its economy and appealing to Nigerians to endure the temporary hardship for long lasting gains.