NIGERIAN Senate has expressed support for the increase in fuel price but asked the federal government to immediately commence the implementation of palliatives measures to cushion the effects on poor Nigerians.
The upper chamber’s decision was contained in the resolution read at the end of a 65-minute executive session on the fuel increase by Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, who presided over the plenary on Tuesday, May 17.
The senate expressed sympathy with Nigerians on the level of hardship in the country and pledged to engage the federal government to find sustainable ways to improve on the welfare of the citizens. The upper chamber also asked the executive to engage the Labour leaders in order to address the issue.
“The Senate in a closed session deliberated on the increase in the pump price of PMS by the Federal Government and the threats by the organised Labour to embark on a nationwide strike over the matter and resolved as follows: That we sympathise with ordinary people of Nigeria on the hardships they are going through, the senate will engage the federal government to find sustainable ways of improving the welfare of the people of Nigeria.
“That we call on government to continue to engage the organised labour and other stakeholders to resolve issues in other not ground the system and impose more hardships on our people. That government should immediately start implementing palliatives or palliative measures contained in the 2016 appropriation act passed by the National Assembly,” Ekweremadu said.
On his part, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, called for an effective mass transit system to regulate the cost of transport and cushion the effect of the recent fuel price hike. He said rather than procuring vehicles for the transport union members, government should provide them with subsidy to ensure that the cost of transportation before the deregulation was maintained after the exercise.
He therefore asked ministers of transport, labour and petroleum resources, to sit together and come up with a mass transit policy like what is obtainable in other part of the advanced World with a regulatory authority. He insisted that rather than wasting money subsidising petroleum products, government should have ensured that the mass transport operators are encouraged to ensure fare stability at all times whether the pump price increases or not.
— May 17, 2016 @ 17:50 GMT