The Nigerian government is due to hold talks on its ongoing fuel crisis as trade and labour unions are calling for a nationwide strike following the decision to scrap petrol subsidies in the country. Earlier in May, Nigeria announced petrol prices would rise by two-thirds, with a litre of petrol now costing 145 naira (50p), up from about 86.5 naira (30p), in a bid to curb the fuel crisis.
However, the move angered many, with trade and labour unions labelling the decision as "criminal" and calling for a strike, due to start on 18 May.
"In the event that government refuses to accede to these demands on or before 12 midnight on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, and their civil society allies resolve to commence the following action with effect from Wednesday, May 18th, 2016: 1: Mobilise to the streets across the country ordinary and helpless Nigerians to whom they owe the duty of protection. 2: Shut down all banks, public and private offices, as well as markets [and] 3: Commence indefinite nationwide action," Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, said in a statement.
The government also denied reports it intends to devalue the naira in exchange for funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Scrapping petrol subsidies can be a necessary condition to receive funds from IMF. However, the IMF have said that Nigeria did not request any funds.
"The rumour that the naira is going to be devalued is false," central bank spokesman, Isaac Okoroafor, was quoted by Reuters as saying. Meanwhile, IMF insisted Nigeria's crippled economy could benefit from a more flexible exchange rate.
"And so, there are no negotiations going on. However, as we have said before, the Fund continues to have a productive dialogue with the authorities and we stand ready to help should the country make a request," an IMF spokesperson said.