Commercial Activities Bounce Back In Delta

…Petrol Stations Yet To Comply With New Pump Price

BY AUSTIN ETAGHENE/THEOPHILUS UZI/ANDREW IKEHI

FOLLOWING  the suspension of the Eight day strike action embarked upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other allied bodies, in protest over the removal of Oil subsidy by the Federal Government which literally grounded economic activities in the country, commercial activities yesterday in Delta State, bounced back in full swing.

In Asaba, the state capital, some of the business premises that were shut down at the wake of the strike action in total compliance with the NLC and TUC directives, were opened to customers just as the different business centers’ in the metropolis witnessed influx of customers.

At the Ogbeogonogo market, some of the traders who spoke with The POINTER commended the Federal Government and the Leadership of the NLC and TUC for coming to a compromise that necessitated the downward review of the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Petrol to N97 per litre and the subsequent suspension of the eight day old strike.

Financial institutions in the state witnessed upsurge of customers who thronged the banking premises to either make some deposits, withdrawal or other allied banking transactions.

The story was the same in Agbor, Ika south Local Government Area of the state as business activities which were skeletal during the period the strike lasted, picked up with renewed vigour as there were vehicular and human traffic logjam along the ever busy old Lagos/ Asaba Road.

At about 7:30 a.m, Wednesday,, some of the commercial banks in the area were besieged by a cream of customers who were there to commence normal banking transactions and thus; beat the anticipated influx of customers.

Mr. Happy Oriri, the Financial Secretary, Onye -some- ibe Building materials Association, who spoke with our correspondent said he was at the bank as early as 7:oo a.m in order to beat what he described “ the would be mad rush at the bank” following the closures of banking activities during the period of the strike.

In warri, Ughelli, Sapele and Abraka, our correspondent report that economic activities have since returned to normalcy as both Public and Private enterprises opened for normal transactions.

Meanwhile, despite the downward review of pump price of petrol pegged at N97 by the federal Government, independent marketers in the State, as at the time of this report, were yet to revert to the new approved pump price.

A check by The POINTER revealed that some of the filling stations which opened for business are still dispensing the product at between N14O to N150, while others are still under lock and key.

However, at the NNPC Mega stations where the product is now sold at the approved pump price of N97, motorists spend herculean task getting the product as the stations were characterized with long queues.

Some of the motorists who spoke with our reporter commended the Federal Government for heeding to the yearnings of Nigerians just as they called for special task force to compel owners of filling stations to adhere strictly to the new approved pump price of petrol.

“This is sheer wickedness.  When the federal government announced the hike in the pump price of the product, all the filling stations in the state did not blink twice before they adjusted their metres. Now, why are they finding it difficult to adjust to the new pump price of N97 even when it is clear that they got the product at far lower price?”  Mr jude Adagbon, queries.

Meanwhile, Deltans have yesterday been reacting to President Goodluck Jonathan’s nation-wide broadcast in which he announced the reversal of fuel pump price from N141.00 to N97.00.

In Asaba, the Bishop of Dominion Christian Centre, Ken Ebolum, alongside an  Asaba based legal practitioners, Barr Afam Nmah, Barr. Peter Ogana and former local government service commission chairman, Chief John Ukpedor, commended the federal government for shifting ground and arriving at a middle ground.

The respondents who were unanimous in their remarks, described the presidential pronouncement as a welcome development and urged Nigerians to give the president the enabling environment to transform the economy.

They advised the federal government not to renege in it promise of investing proceeds from the fall-out of fuel subsidy removal into critical sectors of the economy.

According to them, the resilience demonstrated   by Nigerians while the strike lasts is an indication that it will no-longer be business as usual.

They urged labour to accept the new pump price offered by government while it continues to dialogues on the issue.