INCESSANT PETROL AND ELECTRICITY PRICE HIKES IS A PRODUCT OF DEREGULATION AND PRIVATISATION POLICIES
WORKERS, YOUTH AND THE POOR MASSES SHOULD RESIST DEREGULATION AND PRIVATISATION
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns the increase in petrol price from N162 to N170 per litre, something which is the third petrol price hike in five months. We also condemn the electricity tariff hike by over 100%. These hikes are increasingly unaffordable and rising living conditions are unbearable for the vast majority. We call on the working people and youth to resist these attacks which are bound to continue unabatedly as long as capitalist neo-liberal policies are implemented.
SPN demands a reversal of petrol price to N87 per litre, electricity tariff to N13 kWh and an end to privatization and deregulation policies. We demand the building of new refineries, fixing of the existing refineries, provision of basic infrastructure in the power sector and other sectors of the economy.
The Buhari-led capitalist government adopted, just like its predecessors, the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies, which are responsible for the perennial criminal hikes, because it protects the profit interest of the privileged big business at the expense of the vast majority. It is the implementation of these capitalist policies that have created mass poverty, mass unemployment and mass misery and simultaneously created a handful of billionaires. On the excuse of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conditions of millions of workers have been calamitously affected through mass sack, redundancy and cuts in salaries. At the same time the cost of living is skyrocketing, for instance, the price of a bag of 50kg rice is about N30,000, the value of the minimum wage that is yet to be implemented by many states.
The Buhari-led government has failed to develop the economy despite its promises. Infrastructure remains in a terrible state including the failure to fix existing refineries and build new ones. The power sector infrastructure remains comatose and many communities plunged into deeper darkness despite spending over $20 billion in the last 13 years. On the basis of capitalism, the government lacks the capacity to develop the economy because it pursues the interest of a few local and international profiteers at the expense of the vast majority. The working masses are being forced to pay for the failure of the capitalist ruling elite.
The rotten deal/agreement entered into by the Ayuba Wabba-led Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows clearly that the right wing labour leaders have openly taken side with the oppressive Buhari regime against workers and the poor masses. We condemn the acceptance of the neo-liberal policies of deregulation and privatization by the national leadership of both NLC and TUC. This explained why they shamelessly called off the last planned September 2020 general strike against the hikes in fuel price and electricity tariff; and now the reason they have been silent over the latest increases. We call on individual trade unions and workers to reject the reactionary action and position of the central leadership, call for its reversal and fight for a democratically run trade unions as well as NLC and TUC with a fighting leadership that defends the interests of workers and the poor masses. Workers should in the meantime consistently mount pressure on labour leaders to declare a general strike against the current hikes in fuel prices and electricity tariff and other anti-poor policies of the Buhari government.
Instructively, despite the treachery of the right wing labour leaders, youths, with support of the working people embarked on mass protest against police brutality and bad governance just in less than two weeks after the betrayal of class struggle by the labour leadership. This shows the readiness of the working people and youth to resist anti-poor capitalist policies.
Therefore, we call on workers, youth and the poor masses to begin to organize in communities and workplaces in order to resist the growing attacks on our living and working conditions, resist petrol and electricity price hikes as well as poor power supply and exploitative crazy billing. The struggle over electricity in communities has to be linked to a demand for the return of power sector to the public given the monumental failure of the electricity privatization. However, to avert the debacle of the old NEPA and PHCH, a new renationalized power company has to be put under democratic control of workers and consumers and thereby guarantee the judicious use of resources and a regular power supply
By and large, for the economy to achieve sustainable development, the commanding heights of the economy (banks, steel, aviation, maritime, oil and gas etc.) have to be nationalised under democratic control and management of workers and consumers. We, therefore, call on trade unions, working people and youth to join the SPN in order to build it as a mass working peoples’ political party on a socialist programme to wrest political power from the thieving capitalist ruling elite, build a mass movement to defeat capitalism and use the human and material resources of Nigeria for the benefit of the vast majority.
Acting National Chairperson