The Deputy Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Philip Agbese, has appealed to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to shelve the proposed industrial action.
The NLC and TUC had on Tuesday declared that they would commence an indefinite strike on Tuesday, October 3.
The unions also ordered their state chapters to mobilise for protests across the country.
Appealing to the NLC and TUC leaders in a statement he signed on Thursday, Agbese said the country’s economy cannot withstand the intending mass action of organised labour.
Agbese, however, called on the union leaders to continue to dialogue with the Federal Government.
He said, “Let me also use this opportunity to appeal to the Organised Labour not to succumb to agents of destabilization who want to pull us back. The issue of palliatives and better welfare for all citizens is paramount before the Asiwaju government.
“Our nation can not withstand another mass action. We are trying to build not destroy. The Labour should, therefore, give dialogue a chance and at least be patient with this administration. It is still early days”.
The lawmaker, who said the removal of fuel subsidy by the President was in the best interest of the country, noted that fuel subsidy had been a part of the nation since the 1970s, and had made a few richer.
Agbese said that available figures showed that the Buhari administration paid a subsidy of over N11.4 trillion, more than what the government spent on education, health, and infrastructure during the period under review.
While acknowledging that President Tinubu’s decision to end the regime has come with hardship, he reckons that Nigerians will celebrate in the long run.
According to him, fuel subsidy constitutes 50% of the nation’s problem and its termination will usher the country to her glorious era in history.
“President Tinubu must be commended for taking the bold step to save the future of our nation. Fuel subsidy was no longer attainable,” he said.
“It is on record that about N40.1 billion is spent daily to subsidize every liter of petrol consumed in Nigeria by at least N600. It means the government spends about N1.24 trillion on fuel subsidies monthly.
“The country is in massive debt and would need more money to subsidize fuel. According to the World Bank, the government is projected to achieve fiscal savings of approximately two trillion naira ($2.6 billion) in 2023, equivalent to 0.9% of GDP. These savings are expected to reach over 11 trillion naira ($14.3bn) by the end of 2025.
“This will be invested in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Indeed, the advantages of the removal of subsidy would not just come up immediately. It is not possible because the economy is not strong. We don’t have money to start implementing measures that will ameliorate the removal of the subsidy.
“However, we must look beyond the present. The future of our great nation is at stake. I want to commend President Tinubu for this brave decision. In a matter of time, Nigerians will smile.”