Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has called on the Federal Government to suspend further privatization of public assets, claiming Nigerians are not reaping the promised benefits of improved and cost effective services from the public enterprises already privatised.
Cross section of Nigerian workers, during the 2014 Workers day commemoration, THEME: Building Enduring Peace and Unity, Panacea for Sustainable National Development, at Onikan, Stadium, Lagos Island.
While contending that its position is premised on the acknowledged global failure of privatised companies, the NLC faction, led by Mr. Joe Ajaero, in a communique, issued at the end of its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said: “It is clear that these privatized enterprises like NITEL, PHCN, Ajaokuta and other steel rolling mills are not in a position to provide public-spirited services.
In fact, Nigerians are worse off paying more for poor services and performance.”Lamenting the state of the economy, the communique said: “NEC in session expressed concern that if there is any reason Nigeria is yet to fulfill her development potentials, it is corruption. With over 150 billion dollars stolen and stash in foreign banks, we need not search further for any other reason for the perennial decay and the sorry state of critical infrastructure.
NEC expressed support for President Muhammed Buhari in his effort to seek international support to ensure repatriation of the stolen wealth from Nigeria and bring to book everyone found culpable. Beyond the recovery of stolen wealth, we urge the present administration to strengthen the anti-corruption agencies, such as the EFCC and ICPC and also carry out reforms in the justice administration system such that corruption cases can be quickly dispensed with.”
NEC in session noted with pains that all economic indices indicate that the economy is in recession with falling oil revenue, the fluctuating foreign exchange rate, rising inflation, gradual decline in the GDP growth rate, declining household income, increasing unemployment and much more. NEC in session opined that it is time to rethink our economic development strategy from foreign reserve guzzling import dependent framework to a system that will deliberately stimulate and promote sustainable productive activities in agriculture and manufacturing geared towards exportation of made in Nigeria made products”
It added: “NEC in session reiterates that the development of the real sector, particularly the iron, steel and automobile, mining, textile and garment segments, is quite critical for the creation of mass decent jobs, elimination of poverty and building a virile and sustainable economy.
The congress therefore commits to engaging the present administration on these issues through campaigns and policy advocacy. NEC in session further demanded a macro-economic policy regime that will address stability in the currency exchange regime, progressive tax administration and the management of customs and excise duties in manners that will promote local production of goods and services.”
While demanding an end to the perceived destructive regime of duty waivers, it stated: “The intractable problem of petroleum supply and pricing cannot be simplistically solved by ‘removal’ of petroleum subsidy on supply that is largely dependent on importation of refined petroleum products that are subjected to fluctuating international pricing and benchmarked on Dolla-Naira exchange rate.The problem is much deeper and interconnected but it is important,that we address the benefit of local production and refining of crude oil to meet local consumption needs in the short term and position for export of refined petroleum products in the long term.
”NEC in session therefore resolved that the Buhari administration must deal decisively with the deep rooted mismanagement, maladministration, wastages and corruption in the petroleum industry and particularly in the NNPC. The NNPC must be restructured to deliver efficient and cost effective services like its counterpart in Brazil, the PETROBAS. NEC in session therefore called on the new government to commence the reform of the oil and gas sector with the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). The PIB is expected to bring into the sector the much anticipated reforms that will make the oil industry more accountable, transparent and yield the maximum returns to the country, investors and generate further investments in the oil and gas sector.”The communique decried the level of insecurity in the country.
It said: “NEC-in-session observed that there seems to be increased spate of bombings in the North East as witnessed in the Sallah day bombings in Damaturu and the twin bombings in Gombe resulting in multiple deaths. NEC in session commiserates with the Nigeria Union of Teachers on the unfortunate loss of scores of lives of teachers in the recent bombing during teachers verification exercise in Zaria, Kaduna State. This incident, once again, demonstrates the fact that workers and ordinary Nigerians are the victims of terror.
Consequently, we demand payment of compensation to the families of the deceased. “NEC in Session commended the military and the combined ECOWAS forces for the excellent job they are doing in ridding our country of terrorism notwithstanding the renewed onslaught by the insurgents. NEC in session further cautioned that the current state of insurgency in Nigeria is not a normal warfare.
The congress therefore calls for greater collaboration between nations, communities and the security forces in information and intelligence gathering.”NEC in session therefore urged President Buhari to restructure the security architecture in a manner that our security system will address new dimensions of kidnapping and terrorism as witnessed in the south east and north east in recent years. NEC in session further called on the federal government to adopt a two pronged approach of dealing with the problem at the root by decisively taking action and developing policies and programmes to revitalize local industries and promote value adding processes in agriculture as a way of addressing the high level of unemployment and poverty in the country.”