Ugo Aliogo and Kehinde Lawal
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged the federal government to begin the immediate payment of all outstanding subsidy claims to petroleum marketers under the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) to avoid looming job losses.
In a communiquÃ© signed by the President of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, the union noted that payment of wages and salaries were being hampered in the downstream sector and warned that the situation should not be allowed to degenerate further.
Kaigama, in the communiquÃ©, called on government to reimburse the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in order to enable it perform its primary obligations to the country.
TUC also charged the government to engage the marketers as social partners under a special intervention arrangement that enables product marketers to access foreign exchange (FOREX) at concessionary rates from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The congress also commended government for the commencement of the Minimum Wage Committee and implored the committee to speed up proceedings to ensure that a new minimum wage would take effect not later than the agreed third quarter of the year.
It further observed that 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.
â€œThis is not good for the economy,â€ TUC added.
Kaigama stressed that the political terrain has become volatile once again, and therefore, enjoined all political leaders to ensure that peace and order are maintained amongst their followers.
He maintained that public office holders should avoid hate speeches so that both the common man and workers can attain fulfillment.
TUC also called on State Governors owing workers to pay and not convert public funds and workersâ€™ salaries for election purposes.
â€œThe NEC-In-Session is worried 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 federal government should declare emergency in the power sector as no nation can develop without power. TUC notes with dismay the several billions of naira which has been expended in the sector to no avail. The call for tariff hike cannot be a solution and it shall be resisted,â€ the communiquÃ© added.