NLC chides Nigerian government over poor economic performance

Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, protesting against Labour Minister, Chris Ngige.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has rated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government low on the economy.

The NLC made the call in a communiqué it released at the end of its National Executive Council meeting in Kano.

The communiqué was signed by the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, and its outgoing General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson.

According to NLC, Nigerians suffered from ”high cost of living condition, widespread unemployment, mass poverty and galloping inequality”.

The union called on the government to take adequate steps to develop people-oriented socio-economic policies to address poverty and inequality.

“The NEC urged Nigerian workers and people to be vigilant against any increase in the price of refined petroleum products. Government is therefore urged to fix the inefficiencies in the downstream petroleum sub-sector.

“While the NEC awaits the final policy directives by the CBN on the restriction of access to official foreign exchange on food import in order to adopt a definite position, the NEC urged the government to consider the fact that some food sources such as dairy products require essential foreign input for local production,” it added.

Insecurity

The NLC also said it will convene a National Security Summit and hold national rally over insecurity across the country.

“Prior to the proposed Security Summit, the NEC resolved that NLC would hold rallies across Nigeria to sensitise government and citizens on the need to urgently arrest the current drift in security,” it said

The union expressed its concern over insecurity in the country with the increase in the kidnapping and communal clashes.

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“The NEC noted that there has been an increase in the wave of insecurity in Nigeria especially as marked by a resurgence in kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, communal clashes and Boko Haram attacks,” the communique said.

“The NEC expressed alarm at the recent confessions of a recently arrested bandit who disclosed that helicopters drop weapons for criminals thus suggesting possible collusion between criminal elements and big-time financiers of criminality.

Government shares in DISCOS, GENCOS

On the media reports of FG’s plan to divest 40 per cent of government shares in DISCOS and GENCOS, the union said it rejected any attempt to divest 40 per cent of public shares in them.

The union said the government should review and reverse the privatisation of the power sector ”instead of selling public shares in DISCOs and GENCOs”.

”The NEC rejected any increase in electricity tariff in the country, the government should review and reverse the privatisation of the power sector,” the communiqué said.

Minimum wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) again demanded the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The union also said the federal government can no longer hide under negotiation with labour to deny workers of salary increase.

The union noted with dismay the continued delay by the Federal Government and other tiers of government to implement the new national minimum wage of N30,000 as recently enacted.

“After very vigorous deliberation on the need to immediately implement the national minimum wage, the NEC insisted that the payment of the new national minimum wage should commence immediately, effective from the day the New National Minimum Wage was assented to by Mr President,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how the labour unions asked President Muhammadu Buhari to help resolve the dispute over the N30,000 new minimum wage.

President Buhari signed a new minimum wage into law in April 2019 but its implementation has been stalled over disagreements between the unions and government representatives.

THISDAY newspaper earlier reported that the federal government had proposed, in addition to the adjustments of the minimum wage of those who are already on level one to level six, a consequential salary adjustment of N10,000 per month across the board for all the harmonised salary structures to ensure equity.

This gave rise to the additional cost implication of N158.8 billion per annum, which has already been captured in the 2019 budget.

Commendations

However, the union commended the FG’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

It also praised the government ”for engaging social partners, particularly organised labour and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria before taking the decision”.

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