NECA faults NLC’s disposition to deregulation policy
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has expressed its full support for government’s long awaited deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
It averred that the policy is a crucial first step in the resolution of the perennial dependence of Nigeria on imported petroleum products.
Besides, NECA, the voice of employers, condemned the disposition of organised labour and civil society organisations to the new policy direction of government on deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director General of NECA, Olusegun Oshinowo, said it must be acknowledged that over the years, organised labour has never been in support of deregulation and has always been resolute and ferocious in its opposition to deregulation”.
Oshinowo noted that “Nigeria in the time past had to face this same crossroad several times and in all of these occasions, organised labour had had its way through the use of instrument of strike and strangulation of economic activities to compel government to back off from its position.
“Nigerians should ponder and ask themselves where organised labour’s position has led our economy on this subject. The evidence is of course obvious as Nigeria and her people have been worse off with continued dependence on off shore sources for petroleum products, perennial shortage of petroleum products, flourishing black market where Nigerians pay an amount way above market rate for petroleum products, loss of manpower as a result of endless hours spent at filling stations, massive and unimaginable corruptions in the management of the subsidy dispensation.
“There is no question about the fact that the subsidy regime has failed. The Organised Private Sector, as a key stakeholder in the Nigerian economy, has been consistent with its position that the way out of this policy disaster of subsidy is deregulation.
“We therefore want to commend this government for embracing the right policy of deregulation and liberalisation, which will bring to an end the despicable, corruption- ridden and anti- development policy of subsidy on PMS”.
Reflecting on the bitter experiences Nigerians have had in recent times on organised labour’s foray into policy space, Oshinowo noted that “time has come to raise the question on the appropriate interpretation of the right of all stakeholders, including organised labour, to consultation in a pluralistic society and the limit to this right. While NECA believes stakeholders have the right to be consulted and carried along by government in the course of formulating crucial policy decisions that affect governance and delivery of socio-economic goods to the people, this right should, however, not be equated to or mistaken for the right to negotiate.
He enjoined organised labour and the civil society to realise that we are in a democratic dispensation and rather than shut down the economy through orchestration of mayhem and disorder, they should be patient and wait for the next election by organising and enlightening voters on the power of the ballot to promote good governance.
Oshinowo implored government to invite organised labour and other key stakeholders such as the Organised Private Sector, represented by NECA, MAN, NACCIMA, NASSI, NASME, Major Marketers, Independent marketers for an all stake – holders dialogue with government, the purpose of which is to fashion a way out which will take cognisance of palliatives for ameliorating the short term pains of the new policy.
He also called on government to rise up to the challenge of protecting the rights of the majority of Nigerians who would rather be at work than be prevented by organised labour from accessing their places of work.
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