The Nigerian government has suffered a setback in its quest to rally individuals and groups to support its plan to begin a phased withdrawal of fuel subsidy next January, after the country’s Organised Private Sector (OPS) denied backing the plan.
Speaking on behalf of OPS, Director-General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, told journalists in Lagos that the 45 OPS members who attended a retreat with President Goodluck Jonathan and supported the subsidy removal acted on behalf of themselves.
He said the OPS had yet to take a position on the contentious fuel subsidy removal, which has been opposed by the country’s workers’ unions.
Mr. Osinowo advised the government to engage in dialogue with acknowledged and authentic representative organisations of the OPS, rather than individual business owners, multinationals and favoured business men in the private sector.
“This is the first time that government is getting individual members to sign a policy document on behalf of an institution like OPS. The appropriate thing is for government to engage stakeholders on such key policy issue in a transparent and constructive manner,”
OPS comprises NECA, National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACIMMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI)