Declare state of emergency in energy sector now, TUC urges FG
TUC President Bobboi Kaigama
Piqued by the apparent inability of investors in the energy sector to simulate turnaround growth and development, four years after privatization, the leadership of Trade Union Congress (TUC) has called on Federal Government to declare state of emergency in the sector.
The Congress also noted that Federal Government’s fight against corruption would remain largely unrealizable without settling the issues of workers and pensioners in the country.
President of the Congress, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama who stated these while fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the meeting of union’s National Executive Council (NEC) in Lagos, stressed that it had become imperative to declare emergency in the power sector , as no nation can develop without power.
TUC recalled with dismay that several billions of naira had been expended in the sector to no avail insisting that the call for tariff hike cannot be a solution and would be resisted.
The Congress observed that the fight against corruption would not achieve the desired result without addressing the injustices being perpetrated by political office holders who collect multiple pensions and gratuities while still serving government in another capacity.”
Towards this end, Kaigama challenged state governors that had subjected their workers into beggars to resign following their failure to perform their constitutional responsibility to the citizenry
He also stated that workers could no longer vouch for state governments that non-payment of salaries was as a result of lack of funds.
“All the other states have one issue or the other in terms of salaries or benefits of their workers. You will discover that it is 13 months’ arrears of gratuities or pensions that have not been paid.
“In some cases, it is the contributory pension deductions that have not been remitted or promotions arrears and death benefits not been paid.”
Meanwhile, a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, expressed worry about the security situation in the country and in particular condemned the recent killings across the country by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and militiamen.
The NEC enjoined Federal Government to take drastic action to build citizens confidence in the system and ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to book.
The NEC-In-Session observed that the nation’s political terrain had become volatile once again and therefore enjoined all political leaders to ensure that peace and order are maintained among their followers.
“Politicians should avoid hate speeches so that both the common man and workers can attain fulfillment. The NEC-in-Session also calls on the Governors owing workers to pay and not convert public funds and workers salaries for election purposes”, the communiqué noted,
“The NEC-in-session after deliberation resolved that the current situation in which the NNPC is the sole provider of fuel to the nation and absorbing subsidies is not healthy for the nation and the corporation.
“Consequently TUC advises government to reimburse the NNPC so as to enable it to perform its primary obligation to the country.
“ 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”, it further noted.
The communiqué signed by Com. (Dr.) Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Comrade (Barr.) Musa Lawal M. Ozigi, TUC President and Secretary-General, respectively, commended the Federal Government for the commencement of the Minimum Wage Committee and implored the Committee to speed up proceedings to ensure that a new minimum wage will take effect not later than the agreed third quarter of the year.