‘Nigeria can only recover from economic recession with enhanced purchasing power’
The General Secretary of the Textiles Union and National Executive Council (NEC) member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, in a statement yesterday observed that Nigeria can only recover from economic recession with enhanced purchasing power, “which is only possible through prompt and adequate payments of over 10 million employed workforce.”
The labour leader, who likened Nigeria’s economy to “a big blind economy, which gets excited with a dimmed ray of eye sight,” said “it was time Nigeria got ambitious in its quantitative and qualitative growth and development numbers.”
While expressing confidence in the potentials of the country to surmount economic recession, Aremu said that the country’s growth can only be realised if workers are adequately and legitimately compensated in order to raise productivity.
Besides, he noted that Nigeria’s economy had the potential of faster recovery, not just exiting recession, if the federal and states governments had put an end to current and persistent crisis of compensation of the working class, manifesting in what he termed “criminal” non-payment and delayed payments of salaries by many states, despite serial federal government bailouts.
According to him, the federal government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP, 2016-2020), launched last year, envisaged 4.6 per cent restoration real GDP growth this year, noting that the “recent token positive growth of 0.55 per cent was a far cry from the planned target.”
Aremu, who is also a labour representative on the National Wages and Salaries Commission, said the key to sustainable development is improved labour productivity in both public and private sectors, saying this “is only possible with motivated paid workers at work and after work through quality pensions.”
He advised the federal government to “urgently address the crisis of compensation in all sectors, notably education sector, and come to terms with ASUU strikes by paying all outstanding allowances, while ensuring service delivery on the part of academic workforce.”
He added: “Nigeria economic recovery is elusive with constant avoidable work stoppages and loss of human hours in an economy trying to exit recession.
“The Federal Government must ease the cost of doing business as much as it must ease the cost of living of the working people through prompt payments of wages and pensions.”