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Job Loses: unpatriotic privileged few led to closure of factories, business outfits – TUC President
By: Cletus Sunday Ilobanafor
Tue, 23 Jan 2024   ||   Nigeria,

The unpatriotic privileged few feasting on the nation’s common patrimony, making merchandise of scarce forex led to the closure of many factories and business outfits, and as a result, millions of Nigerians were thrown out of jobs, the President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has said

Comrade (Engr) Festus Osifo, TUC’s President in chats with Daily Indepen­dent, called on Nigerians to remain opti­mistic that with sincere, committed, re­sponsible and responsive leadership, the excruciating litany of lost opportunities and dashed hopes will change for good.

He said: “We have soldiered-on despite diminishing value of our wages, low pur­chasing power amidst high cost of living, and the humongous challenges confront­ing us as a people. Life has become ex­tremely difficult, even unbearable, as a direct consequence of official policies and measures that sent the naira depreciat­ing many-folds and the economy spinning and spiraling out of control in the year under review.

“The economy has actually been on its knees, gasping for breath. But, that did not stop or even deter roguish and un­patriotic privileged few from feasting on our common patrimony, including mak­ing merchandise of our scarce forex at a time the manufacturing sector cannot access forex to import raw materials for production.

“This ugly development has led to the closure of many factories and business outfits, and as a result, millions of Nige­rians were thrown out of jobs, with the attendant social, economic and security implications.

“Some of them even engage in wan­ton ostentation that is provocative and unacceptable. With over 33.3 per cent un­employment rate, massive and pervasive poverty and misery ravaging the nooks and crannies of the land, coupled with the criminal indifferent attitude of the political class, it is obvious that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun power.

According to the labour leader, the TUC has resolved to demand of the Pres­ident Bola Tinubu administration that: “All agreements between labour and gov­ernment, including the payment of the monthly N35,000 Wage Award to Public Servants in the Local Government, State and Federal services, must be implement­ed until a new National Minimum Wage is implemented.

“A new National Minimum Wage must be negotiated, implemented, and if fur­ther delayed in the year, arrears be paid.

“Inflation, which is running at 28.20 percent, must be drastically reduced to the Sub-Saharan African regional aver­age of 9.4 percent.

“Governments at state and federal lev­els should stop the unnecessary, economi­cally-unwise and unpatriotic tradition of taking loans, especially when these loans only end up being used to purchase thou­sands of expensive jeeps for legislators, pampered members of the Executive and their spouses, or in building unnecessary offices and purchasing mundane and sun­dry things, including stationaries.

“Government should stop its ill-ad­vised devaluation of the national cur­rency, which is precipitating the collapse of local industries which need foreign exchange to import raw materials, and which has led to mega inflation in our import-dependent economy.

“The sale of the Naira in the streets due to the Central Bank-induced scarcity must be stopped. This is possible, provid­ed Government ensures adequate supply of Naira notes in the banking system.

“The very high price of PMS, which is now at a poverty-inducing price of N617 at the NNPC fuel stations ,much higher elsewhere, should be drastically reduced to repair the damage done to the economy. This will be achieved by ensuring local production of refine products.

“The security of Nigerians should be the yard stick with which to determine whether military and other security chiefs and their supervising Ministers should remain in office or be replaced.

“Specifically, rather than lament, Pres­ident Tinubu has a duty to sanction offi­cials for serious security breaches such as the December, 2023 massacres in Plateau State.

“In order to ensure maximum securi­ty, Community Policing should be prior­itised alongside the mobilisation of the citizenry to defend themselves against bandits and terrorists.

“Government should engage in dia­logue with aggrieved groups represent­ing nationalities who feel marginalised, short-changed or shut out”.


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