14 Jan 2012

Strikes in abeyance for more talks

2:50 pm on 14 January 2012

Trade unions in Nigeria are suspending protests for two days to allow more talks with the government.

The announcement came on the fifth day of a general strike over the removal of a fuel subsidy, which has caused fuel prices and transport fares to double.

The unions said that talks on Thursday with President Goodluck Jonathan were "fruitful" and would continue on Saturday.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that the government had "put an offer on the table", which the unions were now considering.

The BBC report oil accounts for some 80% of Nigeria's state revenues but it has hardly any capacity to refine crude oil into fuel, which has to be imported.

The government has promised to use the $US8 billion it spends each year on the fuel subsidy to improve schools, health care and the electricity supply.