The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called out on workers across the country to go out today, August 2, to protest against what it called “anti-poor policies of the government.”
A statement yesterday, signed by the President of the Congress, Joe Ajaero asked workers across the country to go out to carry out the protest until the government fulfills the demands it put across to it.
The statement listed the six demands as follows:
1. Immediate implementation, in good faith, of the resolution with the Congress, jointly signed with government and TUC ( Trade Union Congress)
2. Immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of government, including the recent hike in PMS (petrol) price, school fees and VAT (Value Added Tax)
3. Fix our local refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna
4. Release of 8 month withholding salaries of university lecturers and workers
5. Accord appropriate recognition and support to the presidential steering committee and the work of its sub-committees
6. To put a stop to inhuman actions and policies.
This is even as the TUC, which joined in the protest today, spoke about what it called obnoxious policies of the government.
The TUC directed all its 36 states Councils and the Federal Capital Territory to mobilise for a protest against “the draconian policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
In a statement, jointly signed by its President, Comrade Festus Osifo and Secretary, Nuhu Toro, TUC recalled that at his inauguration, the president Bola Ahmed Tinubu removed subsidy leading to a sharp rise in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as fuel.
“This resulted to a hike from N190 per litre to N540 and later N620 per litre. This development has brought about untold hardship on Nigerians with many having to trek kilometers to work and places of business. “Organisations have shut down and workers laid off because of the anti-poor policy.”
TUC said that it is not opposed to the removal of subsidy, saying; “we support the fact that it has to be removed but there must be measures in place to ameliorate its effect on Nigerians.
“And such measures include: fixing of the refineries and possibly building more; functional transportation system; living wage, good medical facilities and employment.
“The policy was not thought through which is why its impact is excruciating on Nigerians. Sadly, when Nigerians cried out the federal government proposed a paltry sum of N8,000 for poor families without details on mode of payment. Annoyingly also, the same government is giving a whopping sum of N70bn to 469 lawmakers and N39bn to the judiciary. “The injustice and impunity cannot be tolerated.”
The Congress regretted that the federal government boycotted meetings scheduled at the Villa to discuss further on the palliatives thereby slowing down the negotiation process.
It said that Nigerians are dying and that the Congress cannot afford to keep quiet any longer. “The federal government must realise that governance goes beyond declaration of emergency on food security; it is time to swing into action to avert the starvation in the land.
“Government promised to attract investors when they win elections which we have not seen. They should go abroad, get investors, create more decent jobs and provide an enabling environment for investment in terms of security and others.
“It is when more people get employed that taxes can be paid and government will more money.
“The exchange rate is abysmally high and stifling businesses. This has affected the cost of production and inflation rate. Naira should not be on a free fall; no country allows that.
“Nigeria is dollar dependent and our only major source of forex is oil and painfully we cannot refine our crude. “The federal government has failed to manage it forex well and it is taking toll on the pockets of Nigerians. Government must come up with good monetary policies that will help investments and also empower the naira.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu -led administration has said that so far the sum of N1trn has been saved from the removal of subsidy in two months. If they knew the country would save that much within two months why then borrow the sum of $800m World facility?
“It shows improper planning or it could also be that some people somewhere took advantage of the situation to rip-off the country.
“All affiliates and State councils of congress are hereby directed to mobilise their members for action by midnight of today, 1st August, 2023.”