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NASU decries non-functional housing fund, state of economy

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja
12 July 2016   |   4:55 am
The General Secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi, said in Abuja that the neglect of the agriculture sector and mining has contributed immensely to the downward movement of the Nigerian economy.
Peters Adeyemi. PHOTO: youtube.com

Peters Adeyemi. PHOTO: youtube.com

The Non Academic Staff of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) has lamented the precarious state of the nation’s economy.

The General Secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi, said in Abuja that the neglect of the agriculture sector and mining has contributed immensely to the downward movement of the Nigerian economy.

He was also quick to note that the continued decline in the economic fortune of the nation is as a result of the glut in international prices of crude and the effect of globalisation.

To re-position the economy and put it back on the track of development, Adeyemi called for the diversification of the economy into agriculture, manufacturing, mining of the abundant solid minerals, such as bitumen, marble, gold, etc.

He urged government to take proactive measure to resuscitate the collapsed industries, which has the capacity to boost Nigeria’s industrial base for the much-needed creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.

He added: “Government should also focus on the development and improvement in power generation for the sustenance of businesses owned by the self-employed, small and medium scale entrepreneurs. The extension of fertilizer, loan facilities and improvement of infrastructures such as rural roads for the easy movement of farm products and the general encouragement of young graduates to engage in agriculture as a viable means of livelihood. The economic plans for the growth and development of Nigeria should take into consideration the wellbeing of citizens.”

Adeyemi, who is also a deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the objectives of establishing the National Housing Fund Scheme through the Act No. 3 of 1992 to enable workers acquire affordable houses for themselves have not been met 24 years after.

He expressed concerns that while workers have been making monthly contributions to the scheme, they have not been able to access funds from it to acquire their own houses.

NASU therefore called for the suspension of deductions from the salaries and wages of workers forthwith until the administration of the fund is made in such a way that contributors can access it without bottleneck.

While he lauded the appointment of a special licensed Pension Fund Administrator for the Universities and the efficient running of the Pension Transitional Directorate (PITAD) that is managing the smooth payment of pensions to pensioners under the defunct defined benefits pension scheme, Adeyemi urged the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to enforce the provisions of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which prescribes sanctions and penalties for non-compliance with the provisions of the Act.

The NASU Scribe also bemoaned the high tax rate as contained in the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) prevailing in the Federal and State establishments and noted that the tax regime in the country is no longer in tune with the economic realities of the present day Nigeria.

He said: “The taxes are longer in tune at all with the economic realities in the country especially considering the various contributory schemes to which the workers subscribe monthly thus leaving them with very insignificant sum as take-home pay in a situation where there is no welfare scheme in place for the people. The time has come for the Federal Government to review these taxes.”

Adeyemi who lamented lack of electricity supply in the country noted that all the power sector reforms and the money spent on the reforms and road maps by successive governments have all failed to address the energy crisis in the country, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency put in motion necessary machinery aimed at fulfilling his electioneering campaign promises on the power sector.