Saddened by the deteriorating power supply in Nigeria and resultant economic losses, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has asked the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector.
The union, which rose from its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos, wekend, said this had become absolutely necessary, “as no nation can develop without power.”
The TUC also urged the Federal Government to be decisive in its bid to rebuild the confidence of the citizenry in the system, by arresting and prosecuting killers of innocent Nigerians, masquerading as herdsmen and militia in different parts of the country. The union in a communiqué issued after the meeting, expressed concern about the ceaseless killing by the Boko Haram sect, noting that it was time the insurgents were made to face the law.
On the volatility of the political system, ahead of the 2019 general elections, the TUC in the communiqué signed by Bobboi Kaigama, president and Musa Lawal, secretary general, called on politicians and their followers to act in a manner that would guarantee peace within the polity.
“Politicians should avoid hate speeches so that both the common man and workers can attain fulfilment. The NEC also called on governors owing workers to pay such monies and warned converting public funds and workers’ salaries for election purposes.
The union also blamed the recurring fuel crisis on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as the sole provider of fuel for the country and called on the government to, however, reimburse the corporation and marketers of money spent on subsidy.
“The Federal Government should begin the immediate payment of all outstanding subsidy claims by the petroleum marketers under the PPPRA-administered Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) to avoid consequential job losses which the nation can least afford.
These delays are also stopping the payments of wages/salaries in the downstream sector in a scary dimension, which must not be allowed to degenerate further. It is expected that the government would engage the marketers as social partners under a special intervention arrangement that enables product marketer purchase foreign exchange (FOREX) at concessionary rates from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This will keep the prices at their current levels as well as encourage more participants,” the TUC said.
The union commended the government for the commencement of the minimum wage committee and implored the committee to speed up proceedings to ensure that a new minimum wage takes effect not later than the agreed third quarter of 2018.