The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have reacted to the Federal Government’s N5 billion fuel subsidy removal palliative to state governments. CONTINUE READING>>>>>
Naija News recalls that the Federal Government approved N5 billion for each state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to enable them to procure food items for distribution to the poor in their respective states.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.
In addition to the fund, Zulum said the Federal Government also released five trucks of rice each to the 36 state governors.
However, in their reaction to the move, organised labour has knocked the federal government, saying state governors could not be trusted, because politicians and not the poor would benefit from the N5 billion palliative.
While reacting, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said the Federal Government was about sharing N2,000 and a cup of rice to poor people across the country.
He also stated that the governors could not be trusted, as most of them were not paying minimum wage.
Ajaero said, “N5bn multiplied by 36 states is going to give you N180bn. So if you divide that with the official figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, which says that 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor, and calculate it, you will get about N2,000 each for those who are poor.
“That is the official statistics of the government, but you and I know that the actual figure is more than that. So is that what to celebrate? And then, five trucks or there about, of rice to a state. The poor people of these states cannot get one cup of rice. It will not go round.
“Even if you pick them from the poverty bracket, it will be difficult for them to get one cup of rice. Is that the best we can do? Is that the best approach to governance? So do we look at our people as people we should give one cup of rice and N2,000? Is that palliative?
“Who are governors you are giving it to? Is the governors who have not paid minimum wage? Is there any committee to ensure the effective disbursement of that which is very insufficient?”
The Assistant National Secretary-General of the NLC, Mr Chris Onyeka, wondered why the federal government released the palliative to state governors when most of them have refused to pay minimum wage to workers.
Onyeka, according to The Punch, said, “The money will not get to the people; let them share the money as they want, but what the NLC agreed with them were certain milestones. The NLC will close its eyes to what the Federal Government is trying to give to the governors.
“To us, as far as we are concerned, NLC will still stick to the milestones that we have agreed on; we will insist that those things are discussed and implemented to the letter.
“When the Federal Government wants to subvert the instrument of dialogue, it intentionally creates problems. The Federal Government had already started engaging using this instrument when they engaged the NLC; for them now to go and sit down at the level of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and to go and pretend to give them money is a subversion of social dialogue, subversion of peace, and a subversion of democracy because it is not democratic.”
Similarly, the TUC Deputy National President, Tommy Etim, submitted that “It is one thing to make pronouncements. Implementation is another thing. I am sure you remember what happened to the COVID-19 palliatives in 2020 when foodstuffs were stored in warehouses and kept from hungry citizens. Same thing with the issue of the Paris Club relief fund that some governors went to hide in the bank so that they could get some from it while citizens were starving.
“We need a body that will follow up on the implementation because left to the state governors; the palliatives may not get to places where it should get. We need a body that will make them accountable. We need the citizens to be aware. The body should let everyone know when each state gets its own relief (package). Everyone should know the details that are received by each state, how the packages were distribute.’’…… Continue Your Reading