Ahead of the planned nationwide strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has appealed for the suspension of the strike.
He said this on Saturday while addressing online publishers in Lagos. asked Nigerians to bear with the government at such a time, adding that more prosperous years are ahead.
While faulting the timing of the increase, the NEC at a meeting held at Labour House Abuja, directed the councils at 36 NLC states and Abuja to intensify mobilization of workers and other Nigerians.
Ayuba Wabba advised the federal government to, in the interest of industrial peace and social order, listen to cries of workers and other suffering Nigerians and rescind the increases, warning that failure to meet the demands would make the planned strike and mass protest inevitable.
He said, “The National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress comprising members of the National Administrative Council, President and General Secretary of members of the affiliate unions and our state council chairpersons and secretaries of the 36 states and FCT met today (yesterday) and resolved as follows: NEC resolved to reject in its entirety the issue of hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100% as well as the fuel price increase in the name of full deregulation.’’
‘’This decision is premised on the fact that these twin decisions alongside other decisions of government including the increase of VAT by 7.5%, numerous charges being charged by commercial banks on depositors without any explanations will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizens, including their families.
“Therefore, this increase, coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed, but it is also counterproductive. NEC also observed that the privatization of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded any positive result. Whereas the entire privatization process, the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion, we are also surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5 trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset.’’
Lai Mohammed on Saturday said the timing of the increase in the petroleum and power sectors was a necessary coincidence and not a plan by the government to increase the current economic realities of Nigerians.
He mentioned that the deregulation of the petroleum sector will save the country trillions of Naira, which will then be used to provide modern infrastructures for the benefit of Nigerians.
“Also, the service-based electricity tariff adjustment and the ongoing work by German company Siemens to boost power supply in Nigeria will help end the perennial power problem in the country. I remind you that under the three-phase Siemens deal, Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 (phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase.”
The strike is scheduled to start on Monday, 28th September 2020.