*Fed Govt fixes another meeting for February 22
The organised labour has asked for two weeks to conduct an independent assessment and investigation of the report of the Technical Committee on Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) Pricing.
The report was presented to the government and organised labour on Tuesday by the Committee chairman Onochie Anyaoku, who is a former Executive Director of Refineries Operations and Petrol Pricing in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
It was learnt that a labour leader said the report favoured PMS increase, meaning it supported Federal Government’s position to increase the product last November.
It was also learnt that labour leaders at the meeting asked for two weeks to examine the report by its in-house experts before deciding whether to adopt the report or not.
Organised labour is represented in the technical committee by the President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Festus Osifo.
Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige said the Federal Government and the organised labour will reconvene on February 22 for the consideration of the reports of the bipartite technical committees on fuel price and electricity tariff.
Ngige, who addressed reporters after a bipartite meeting between the government and the organised labour at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said both sides received and adopted the report of the Technical Committee on Premium Motor Spirit Pricing Framework, while that of the Electricity Tariff Committee was expected in another week.
The minister said the organised labour requested for some time to peruse the report on PMS pricing for further investigation.
“It is a technical report. So, they needed further investigation of the report by their own technical research team. The Technical Committee on Electricity Tariff has not finished. We expect the report in a week’s time. So, cogently, we are reconvening on February 22 to take both reports,” Ngige said.
Anyaoku explained that the committee, at its meeting on December 16, 2020, developed guiding principles and a work schedule distinct from the primary function of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to develop a transparent methodology and a template that will serve as the guide on realistic PMS pump price and benchmark, all pricing elements of the PMS pricing template with neighbouring countries.
He said: “Based on extensive review of the pricing framework and in line with the terms of reference of the committee, the following recommendations were proposed and adopted:
“PPPRA to convene periodic meetings with the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and other importers to ensure actual cost of supply reflective determination as an interim solution.
“Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), PENGASSAN and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to witness the transparent determination at the periodic meeting.
“PPPRA frequently monitor data of Rotterdam supply chain values. This should continue to form the basis of price determination until the West African basket is liquid and transparent enough to warrant its adoption in the pricing template.
“All importers, including the NNPC, to adopt the same forex window used by PPPRA to ensure alignment and accurate pricing. PPPRA board to adopt weighted average as the basis of determination.
“Government to enforce immediate collection of NPA and NIMASA charges in naira to reduce pressure on forex demand and pump price hike.
“To develop adequate communication strategy on the necessity of deregulation and the benefit to the people, to create public awareness and gain acceptability of deregulation, which will reduce the pressure on labour to react to fuel increase.
“Deregulation is a huge change in national policy but highly desirable in this stage of our national development policy, for which its implementation requires trust building steps and commitment to visible frugal spending by government.”
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