Today is a decisive day for the representatives of the Organised Labour and the Federal Government. When they return to the negotiation table, they are condemned to reaching an acceptable agreement that will end the on-going six-day mass protests that have led the country and her citizenry to lose about N2 trillion. According to estimates, the strike is costing the country about N320 billion a day.
Failure to reach an agreement may unleash an incalculable damage to the already stretched economy and deteriorating polity, especially if protesters take the mass action to the next level and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) shuts the upstream sector of the petroleum industry including export terminals tomorrow as it threatened on Thursday. Crude oil export accounts for about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
Before Thursday’s dialogue, Organised Labour and the Government had maintained hardline positions. While the government said there was no going back on removal of fuel subsidy, which has led to the increase of fuel price from N65 to between N138 to N250 across the country since January 1, Labour shunned the negotiation table and hinged resumption of dialogue on reversion of fuel price to N65 per litre. [Vanguardnews]