Acting NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero
By Sunday Okobi
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Wednesday asked the Federal Government to address the recommendations raised in the Stephen Oransaye-led Presidential Committee report on the rationalisation of Federal Government parastatals, commissions and agencies, in order to avoid economic crisis in the country.
Acting President of the NLC, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said the report, not properly handled “may lead to massive loss of jobs which will have disastrous consequences for the country.” The report had thrown up serious labour and social challenges, which the NLC said if not looked into, would lead to loss of jobs in the country.
The recommendations included the reduction of 263 statutory commissions to 161 and the scrapping of 38 agencies among others.
The statement also disclosed that at the inauguration of the committee, the NLC drew the Presidency’s attention to the fact that the number of workers who work in these organisations and those who may be affected by the outcome, “would be Congress members and that it was therefore necessary for the NLC to be represented in the Committee.
“Apparently, the Federal Government was not persuaded about this, now that the Report is out and a government team to produce a white paper has been constituted, the NLC finds it imperative to raise the social and Labour issues that will result.
“It is necessary to first clarify that the NLC believes that the cost of governance needs to be reduced although we think this has to do mainly with government expenditure on political appointees and hangers on.”
We however believe that parastatals and agencies like the FRSC and EFCC which have proven records of success should not necessarily be scrapped or merged,” Ajaero said.
NLC said if report properly addressed, job losses may be inevitable in a few cases, and therefore demanded that special focus be placed on the social and Labour implications.
“We know that each worker caters for a minimum of six persons and that each job loss may automatically translate to eight Nigerians being pushed further down the poverty line into hunger.
“To avoid the social and Labour issues and crisis that may occur as a result of the Report, the white paper and Government actions, Congress appeals to the Presidency to invite Labour at this stage for discussions on the issue,” the statement said.