The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, yesterday urged the Federal Government to clean up the system before addressing subsidy or the deregulation in the nation’s petroleum sector.
Wabba told journalists in Lagos that subsidy was not the issue but inherent corruption in the system.
He said that it was the inefficiencies in the public sector that were fuelling corruption in the country and cautioned that care should be taken to ensure that they were not transferred to the citizenry.
The NLC president urged the government to recover public funds that had been diverted into private pockets, before looking at the subsidy issue.
“The issue is inherent corruption in the system; it is inefficiency and it should not be transferred to the entire citizens.
“First, let the system be cleaned up and then we can then look up into other issues that are associated with subsidy or deregulation.
“In every government, the citizens should benefit from the system that is being transferred but in Nigeria, everything is tied to oil.
“Any slight increase in the price of oil, which is what subsidy stands for, will have multiple effects on the citizens.
“Everything will go up and at this period when poverty is ravaging the country, I think it is appropriate to find a way around, to make the system transparent.
“The Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit shows that a lot of resources are going to private pockets; let the government work to recover the money in a transparent process.
“Thereafter, we can then look at the subsidy issue; but for now, I don’t think we should add salt to injury because already Nigerians are on the ground and he who is on the ground is no longer afraid of falling.
“Unemployment is high, many people cannot afford to eat three square meals a day,” he said.
Wabba said that the issue at present was how we could strengthen our system and put a structure of good governance.
He urged government to proceed on splitting the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into two bodies, to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.
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