Organised Labour laments refusal of Nigerian leaders to make sacrifices in wake of subsidy removal

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The Trade Union Congress’s (TUC) president, Festus Osifo, has expressed grave concern over the disparity between the Nigerian government’s call for citizens to make sacrifices and adjust to the country’s economic challenges and the apparent exemption of government officials from such measures.

Osifo stressed the urgent necessity for the political elite to show their willingness to adapt to the changing economic realities that everyday residents are dealing with during an interview on Channels Television’s “Politics Today” on Wednesday night.

He notably mentioned the difficulties brought on by the elimination of fuel subsidies and the worrisome increase in inflation, which as of May 2023 was astounding at 22.41%.

The unionist also underlined how crucial it was for public servants to set a good example and show that they are trying to understand and respond to the current economic issues the country is facing.

Osifo said, “For example, the convoys. You see governors, they are still going about, business as usual. You see the new legislatures, you see their convoys, it’s endless.

“Nigerians are facing a lot of hardship; it is really hard, and it is terrible. You are asking the people to tighten their belts but at the end of the day, what have you brought to the table? What is the contribution of the political class to this economic logjam that we are in today as a country?

Read Also: ‘We are in real crisis’, TUC bemoans workers’ plight in Nigeria

“What we are saying is that if the Federal Government was not able to fund subsidy, at whose expense? What were the things they were doing with our funds? All the money that they have borrowed, the ways and means that went over 23 trillion naira – what did they do with it?

“They need to also explain to Nigerians, not that at the slightest provocation, they push Nigerians to the streets, and they tell them that we must tighten our belt meanwhile they are loosening theirs.”

In the wake of the removal of subsidy, the government and the Organised Labour said they had agreed to set up a steering committee that would receive reports from other sub- committees within eight weeks.

The Organised Labour had on June 5 suspended its planned nationwide strike over the removal of subsidy following the agreement reached with the Federal government.

Among agreements reached on June 5, was the establishment of a joint committee to review the proposal for any wage increase or award and establish a framework and timeline for implementation.

The Federal Government, the TUC and the NLC were also to review the World Bank Financed Cash transfer scheme and propose inclusion of low-income earners in the program as well as revive the Compressed Natural Gas conversion programme earlier agreed with Labor centres in 2021.

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