Continuation of DasukiGate: Nigeria workers union, NLC, declares “unalloyed support” for Buhari administration

In its communiqué released on Sunday and
signed by its president, Ayuba Waba, and
General Secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson, the NLC
also asked the federal government to beam its
searchlight on road contracts by past
administrations.
The labour union also condemned the removal of petrol
subsidy by the government as well as increase in electricity
tariff by the regulatory agency, NERC.
Read the NLC’s communiqué below:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING OF
THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNIL [NEC] OF THE
NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS HELD ON FRIDAY, JANUARY
29, 2016 AT AIRPORT HOTEL, IKEJA, LAGOS
The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour
Congress (NEC) met at Airport Hotel, Lagos on Friday,
January 29, 2016 to discuss core Labour issues and the
state of the of the nation. After an exhaustive
deliberation, the NEC observed as follows:
1) Corruption
The Congress continues to express its strong and unalloyed
support for government’s war on corruption. Corruption is not
just a national malaise that afflicts virtually every fabric of our
national life, it has all but crippled the nation and accordingly
requires a national action.
Congress observes that the list of the corrupt as expressed in
the $2.1 arms contract scandal underscores the extent of the rot
in the system. Congress notes that this could just be the tip of
the iceberg.
Accordingly, Congress resolved that those on the list of $2.1
billion scandal should apologize to Nigerians for their shameful
act. In spite of the fact that corruption is fighting back,
government should explore all lawful means to ensure that the
looted funds are recovered and the culprits prosecuted in
accordance with the law.
Congress also resolved that government should beam its
searchlight on other sectors of the economy such as road
contracts etc. with a view to recovering every kobo not
accounted
Similarly, Congress resolved that state governments and local
governments should join the war on corruption. On their
volition, they should demonstrate requisite interest and
commitment to this war.
Congress resolved that corruption laws should be strengthened
and corruption cases speedily dispensed with as is the case
with election petition cases.
2) Economy
Congress notes that a combination of the after-effect of years of
fiscal indiscipline, mismanagement of resources, unacceptable
electioneering spending, corruption, policy reversals,
unproductive borrowing, falling crude oil prices and serious
issues of internal security has dealt a blow to the economy.
Inflation is needling double digit. The Naira has collapsed against
the major international currencies. As an import-dependent
country, the implications for the ordinary Nigerian are
enormous. The cost of living has risen, the purchasing power
has dropped and jobs are being lost.
Congress observed that in most states, salaries and pensions
are not being paid regularly in spite of the well-thought-out bail-
out fund program by the federal government. This has thrown
workers and their families into great hardship and
embarrassment.
Congress noted that as a response to this economic downturn,
the IMF, World Bank and neo-liberal Economists are putting
pressure on the government to further devalue the Naira as
well as raise the VAT. Governors and some private-sector
employers on their part are considering mass retrenchment
with Imo state leading the negative way.
Congress believes that neither non-payment of salaries nor
mass retrenchment is an acceptable option in the circumstance.
Congress holds the view that at difficult moments like this,
reflationary measures should be adopted to empower workers
and stimulate the economy.
Congress urged government to take measures that will
stimulate production, develop infrastructure and boost
aggregate demand. Congress urged government to take urgent
steps to diversify the economy with an emphasis on
agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.
3) Non-payment of Salaries, Pensions and Gratuities
The incidence of non-regular payment of salaries, pensions and
gratuities is acquiring an alarming dimension states increasingly
are showing an unwillingness to pay salaries, pensions and
gratuities. Congress is worried that governors are singling out
workers for punishment in the circumstance of economic
downturn while it is rewarding political appointees even when
the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission has
declared such payments as illegal.
Accordingly, Congress urged governors and private sector
employers to toe the path of honour and not retrench workers.
It urged governors to do all that is necessary to pay salaries
and pensions regularly as non-payment of salaries, pensions
and gratuities will be catastrophic not just for workers and their
families but the entire country.
Congress resolved that any state governor who violates the
sacred duty of regular payment of salaries, gratuities and
pensions will incur the wrath of workers.
Congress also resolved to mobilize to any state that retrenches
workers because workers should not be made the scapegoats
of the downturn in the economy. The benefits of political
employees are not touched. They are paid regularly huge sums
that are not even approved by the Revenue Mobilisation
Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
In line with the Congress’ philosophy of an injury to one is an
injury to all, Congress also resolved to mobilize to Imo state to
shut it down as a response to Governor Okorocha’s consistent
anti-labour policies, impunity and retrenchment of workers, in
spite of his promises to the leadership of the Congress that he
would not take such decisions. Congress also resolved to take a
national action in respect of Imo if necessary.
Congress notes that Governor Okorocha has raised a private
militia which he has armed to the teeth and they are presently
inflicting injuries on innocent workers.
Congress considers this as illegal and resolved to make a report
to the IGP, warning that in the event that Okorocha violates the
law by unleashing the militia again on workers, that would be
consequences.
4) Removal of Subsidy
Congress observed that in spite of government’s promise to
Nigerians that it would not remove subsidy on petroleum
products, if any at all, government is attempting to remove
subsidy through the back doors in the form of price
modulation.
Congress rejects attempts to remove subsidy on petroleum
product, noting that it is illegal and unjustifiable as due process
is not being followed.
Congress said subsidy removal will not add any value to the
economy. Rather, it will create more hardship for Nigerians,
especially the poor and the weak.
Accordingly, Congress resolved as follows:
· All moneys recovered from looters of our national treasury
should be invested in building new refineries and revamping
the existing ones.
· Our refineries must be made to work to optimal capacity in
order to meet local need;
· Nigerians should not be made to suffer for the sins of those
who mismanaged the economy by way of imposing higher
prices through subsidy withdrawal and other anti-people
policies;
· To embark on an immediate programme of sensitization and
mobilization of Nigerians across the country for a better Nigeria;
· To work with and engage in struggle in partnership with all
the stakeholders, particularly the Civil Society allies;
· To commence the process of strategic sensitisation and
advocacy through the publication of the papers presented at
the stakeholders meeting on the removal of subsidy on
petroleum products, simplifying and abridging the papers for
circulation to the public;
· To engage government based on the information availed to it
on this subject matter.
5) Increment in Electricity tariff
Congress considers as illegal, unfair, unjustifiable and a further
exploitation of the already exploited Nigerians, the 45 per cent
increase in electricity. Congress rejects the increase on the
following grounds:
· Due process in the extant law for such increment was not
followed in consonance with Section 76of the Power Sector
Reform;
· There has been no significant improvement in service delivery;
· Most consumers are not metered in line with the signed
Privatisation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of
November 1, 2013 which stipulates that within 18 months
gestation period, all consumers are to be metred;
· There is a subsisting court order dated May 28, 2015 by Justice
Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos in the
case of Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi versus NERC and others;
· The increment compounds the present economic recession.
6) Budget 2016
Congress commends the 2016 budget , especially in
consideration of the fact that 30 percent of the budget is
allocated to capital projects and for making available funds for
the recruitment of 500,000 graduates and NCE holders.
Government is also deserving of commendation for making a
substantial percentage of the budget not dependent on oil
revenue.

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