– The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has explained why Nigerian economy might lose an estimated N150 billion daily if PENGASAN and NUPENG go on strike
– Muda Yusuf, the director-general of LCCI, said the consequences of the proposed strike will paralyse the chain of logistics in the economy if not prevented
– Yusuf, however, called on the federal government to decouple itself from the business of importation, refining, transportation and retailing of petroleum products
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned that the Nigerian economy would lose an estimated N150 billion daily, if the proposed strike by Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association (PENGASAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) is not averted.
Muda Yusuf, the director-general of LCCI, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, October 9, in Lagos state. Yusuf said that it would not be a good development for an economy that was just emerging from recession.
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He noted that the consequences of the proposed strike would be severe because of the strategic and critical nature of the oil and gas sector.
He said: ”It would paralyse the chain of logistics in the economy as economic activities are driven largely by road transportation, both for commuting and freight.
”It will impact on revenue as the upstream sector would be affected as well. It would impact the power sector which is largely powered by gas.” The LCCI boss noted that the fuel subsidy phenomenon had become a recurring distraction in the management of the country’s economy.
According to him, “We have consistently argued that the government should completely decouple itself from the business of importation, refining, transportation and retailing of petroleum products.
“This arrangement has created considerable distortions and stagnated private investment in the downstream sector because these are enterprises that the private sector is best suited to manage.”
He said that in spite of the monumental problem the economy had from the subsidy regime, government has not taken urgent steps to put an end to price fixing for PMS.
He said: ”The economy cannot sustain this arrangement. The current debt of N800 billion is 151 per cent of the total capital allocation for the Federal Ministry of Works, Power, and Housing in the 2017 budget.
”It is 1,568 per cent of the capital allocation to health; it is 305 per cent of the capital allocation to Federal Ministry of Transportation; and 1,600 per cent of the capital allocation to education.
”This raises vital questions about the optimality and efficiency of resource allocation and utilisation by government.’’ He called for speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), adding that it will help to normalise the oil and gas sector.