The battle between the Federal government and labour over the alarming hike in Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol yielded result as the Federal Government finally succumbed to the pressure from organised labour and reduced the present price of PMS with N5.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, announced this to journalists after a meeting that elapsed into the early hours of Tuesday with the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), which held at Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, said the reduction would be from N168 to N162.44 per litre with effect from December 14.
The product is presently sold at N168, following the decision of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company to increase the ex-depot price of petrol from N147.67 per litre to N155.17 per litre in November.
The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold by the PPMC to marketers at the depots.
According to Ngige, a technical committee has been set up to ensure price stability in the industry, noting that the committee, which will report back to the larger house on January 25 will appraise the market forces and other things that would ensure stability in the industry.
“Our discussion was fruitful and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation which is the major importer and marketers of petroleum products and customers have agreed that there will be a slide down of the pump price of PMS and that the price cut will get us about N5 per litre and that the price cut will take effect from next Monday, a week today,” Ngige told journalists.
The minister explained that the price reduction was not meant to suspend deregulation because it did not affect the price of crude oil but on areas where the NNPC as the main importer had agreed that it could cut cost like freight and demurrage costs.
He argued that the reduction of new price was a product of a joint committee of NNPC and labour representatives which looked into ways of cutting costs.
The minister further said that both sides agreed to wait till the next meeting date on January 25 to enable the special committee dealing with complaints to conclude their deliberations electricity tariff.
Earlier before the meeting entered a closed-door, government officials led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had hailed NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who was absent at two previous meetings.
In his reaction, the President Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba confirmed the earlier position of the minister, saying that the agreement was reached by both parties.