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Learning English - Words in the News
24 September, 2004 - Published 13:49 GMT
Nigerian Fuel Prices
Nigeria oil plant
Nigeria is OPEC's sixth largest crude oil exporter

The official group of people who set the price of fuel in Nigeria have praised a high court decision, which forbids the members of a country's main union from striking about fuel price increases. This report from Anna Borzello:

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Nigerians are likely to soon face fuel price increases, following the federal high court's decision which paves the way for the reintroduction of the controversial fuel tax and also outlaws unions from striking over non-employment issues.

The Nigeria labour congress has led several general strikes over the last year in protest at fuel price increases, which followed the government's decision to deregulate the purchase and sale of fuel.

Previously, fuel prices have been kept low by government subsidy. The petroleum product's pricing regulatory agency said in a statement it welcomed the high court's decision, and added that marketeers were now free to procure products and release them to the public subject to guidelines. Prices have been effectively frozen while the court reached its decision.

Nigeria is the sixth largest exporter of crude oil within OPEC but much of the revenue generated has been squandered by successive governments.

The general strikes have been widely supported because many Nigerians feel the only benefit they get from their country's oil wealth is cheap subsidised fuel.

Anna Borzello, BBC News, Lagos

Listen to the words

paves the way for
if one thing paves the way for another, it makes it possible for the other thing to happen

if something is controversial, it causes argument or disagreement

if you outlaw something, you make it illegal

if you deregulate something, you remove or reduce government controls on it

government subsidy
money paid by the government to make prices lower

regulatory agency
the organisation or official group of people who control the activities of companies and other organisations, usually by means of rules

here, buy

subject to
if something happens subject to another, it will only happen if the other thing happens

income, the money that a government or organisation receives from people

squandered by successive governments
wasted by one government after another

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