Nigeria can’t verify daily oil production, says TUC
Seeks fine on banks’ over failed transactions
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has described as tragic the fact that after 65 years of oil production, Nigeria is still unable to verify daily oil production or add value to the sector.
The labour centre lamented that the same calamity is visited on the country, which flares its gas, damaging the environment and losing money while the rural populace relies on firewood for domestic cooking.
President of TUC, Festus Osifo, in a New Year message, said the citizens must demand a new trajectory of governance, assert sovereignty over all those in government, hold governments at all levels to their constitutional duties and make them accountable to the Nigerian people.
Directing focus across sectors of the economy, the TUC chief demanded a review of the entire privatisation exercise, stating that transparent accountability of its proceeds was required.
He called for the reversal of privatised entities in the electricity sector, where he said the new ‘owners’ have failed abysmally or merely engaged in asset stripping.
According to him, anybody or group pushing for further privatisation of the country’s national assets does not mean well for Nigeria. The TUC rejected the clamour by some politicians and political officeholders to continue the importation of petroleum products at prohibitive costs while simultaneously, campaigning and making moves to stop fuel subsidies.
The labour centre said politicians, who love Nigerians would first return the country to local refining, thereby creating mass jobs and making the products cheap, accessible and available before contemplating the removal of fuel subsidy.
“We also demand that the Buhari government ensures that PMS is available and sold at the official pump price in fuel stations. The emergent culture of selling such highly inflammable commodities in jerry cans on street corners and residential houses must be stopped,” he said
Osifo said while the TUC fully endorsed the acceleration towards a cashless economy, he condemned the inability of the banking system to run seamless electronic banking platforms.
The move, he said has led to huge loss of money by customers whose transfers were not effected even when they were debited and whose withdrawals at the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are not perfected.
To this end, the TUC advocated that serious fines on banks in favour of the customers would go a long way in bringing sanity to the system. On the country’s huge debt profile, TUC demanded a stop to further loans by the out-going Buhari-led administration, “which has in the main, incurred these debts part of which was used in building an economically unviable railway to a neighboring country while internally, the country needs railways.
“The total Public Debt Stock of the country as at June 30, 2022 was N42.84 trillion (USD103.31). The country’s external debt stood at USD40.06B. These grim statistics released by the Federal Government’s Debt Management Office show that future generations of Nigerians might be enslaved in debt peonage.”
On corruption, the labour centre, which commended all the anti-corruption agencies of government for the successes recorded so far, however, said beyond the recoveries of looted funds and properties, it expected that there must be serious consequences for engaging in corruption.
Osifo described it as tragic that monies meant for infrastructure and the creation of jobs ended up in private pockets. He said the TUC would continue to partner with anti-corruption agencies to increase public awareness and expose fraudulent deals and characters anywhere they are identified.
Noting that life is the most basic of all rights and must not be compromised under any circumstance, he said the war against banditry, terrorism and sectarian violence must be total and uncompromising.
He said there should also be a general mobilisation of the populace, warning against attempts in some quarters to rebrand criminals and terrorists as freedom fighters or treat them with kid gloves.
He demanded that insecurity be tackled by all means, including mobilising the citizenry to defend themselves against bandits and terrorists.
“We can give birth to a New Nigeria if we unite to demand good governance not just from the Buhari government but also from those who may win elections at state and national levels in 2023.
“We must demand a new trajectory of governance, assert our sovereignty over all those in government, hold governments at all levels to their constitutional duties and make them accountable to the Nigerian people.
“If we unite and are determined, the pains of 2022 can be replaced by gains in 2023. We and our compatriots in the Labour movement are ready to lead the populace in this charge towards the New Nigeria, which we so richly deserve.”