NLC blames government’s inconsistent policies for closure of industries
President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba, who stated this at the opening of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NLC in Sokoto, posited that it is impossible for any country to develop without industries.
He explained that nearly all the productive industries in Nigeria, especially those in the manufacturing sector have closed down while some relocated to neighbouring countries especially in the West Africa sub region.
He added: Some of the factors that have led to the collapse of industries include consistent increases in the price of petroleum products, lack of regular public electricity and general infrastructural decay.”
Wabba argued that power stability is indeed very important and critical to industrialization, self-sufficiency and economic growth and it is scandalous that eight months after the 45 per cent hike in electricity tariff and years after the privatization of public electricity, Nigeria still fall short of enough electricity.
He further submitted that while the courts have declared the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff as illegal, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, an umbrella body for the DISCOs has been canvassing for 200 per cent increase in the tariff.
“We must not allow this and we reject their proposal in its totality because it would amount to crude exploitation and insensitivity,” he added.
While Nigerians are still struggling to cope with the severe hardship imposed by the last increase in the price of petroleum products, he insisted that Nigerian workers are totally opposed to any further increases, saying workers are yet to see the benefits of the last increase even as the current Minimum Wage Act has not been reviewed.
He said: “The government must not take us for granted; indeed the patience and perseverance of the entire populace must not be taken for granted as we will surely mobilize the entire citizenry for mass protests in addition to other legitimate actions to resist any further increase.
“What is urgently required of government is not another increase but a downward review of the current pump price of petroleum products.”
Wabba chided the Federal Government for ignoring the need for a review of the national minimum wage which still stands at N18,000 monthly.”
“Nigerian workers and pensioners are as important to the growth of the economy and must not be allowed to continue to suffer further hardships. We therefore reiterate our call on government to treat the review of the minimum wage and pension with the utmost urgency they deserve,” the NLC chief stated.
While the NLC commended the Federal Government in its sustained battle against corruption and determination to ensure good governance in our country, it urged that the battle should be more systemic and institutionalized with strong laws and institutions strengthened enough to sustain the battle.
Wabba submitted: “We will support government in all areas that will promote good governance at all levels and all facets of the Nigerian society as long as it sustains its commitment to delivering people driven governance that will promote decency and growth in all spheres of our socio economic and political endeavour.”
However, the central labour centre disclosed that it will not support the plan by the Federal Government to borrow more money from anywhere saying, “as we obviously have enough to attend to our immediate needs. For instance, if the government vigorously pursues those in possession of our collective wealth, especially multinationals who have refused to remit funds meant for corporate Nigeria, we would have enough to rejuvenate the economy and the quality of the lives of our people. NEITI has already been quoted to discover that $22billion (Twenty two billion dollars) has not been remitted by multinational firms to the federation account. This amount alone can take care of some of the areas any new loan is expected to be expended on.”
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