By Michael Oche, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the promise by federal government to force DISCOs to mass deploy meters to electricity consumers has been poorly pursued as the meters are still hoarded by DISCOs and sold at exorbitant rates to frustrated consumers.
Speaking during the NEC of the Congress, NLC president, Ayuba Wabba said the NLC has always maintained its position that the major factors behind the incessant electricity tariff hike in Nigeria are combinations of pressure from neo-liberal global market forces, poor policy choices, dereliction of duties by the power sector regulator and investors and general inefficiencies in the system.
The NLC president said the implication of this for productivity, employment and stability are huge.
Speaking on incessant hike in fuel prices, he said the failure of successive governments and also this current government to revamp our domestic refineries have led to incessant hike in fuel price
The labour union also said the insistence of government on using the Import Parity Prices to calculate the landing cost of petrol and other refined petroleum products has made matters worse.
He said, “As earlier submitted, the prices of crude oil in the international market which should be an advantage for Nigeria has become a major disadvantage as government insists that workers and citizens must pay higher for imported refined petroleum products and pay dearly for electricity services consumed in the country.”
Reacting to ethic clashes brewing in different parts of the country, the Congress also said we cannot fold our hands and watch Nigerians engage themselves in ethnoreligious squabbles, stressing that the dangers are too significant to ignore.
We call for a new verve of zeal and commitment in the war against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, communal unrests and clashes. We must never get to that point where we surrender the initiative and paraphernalia of sovereignty to autonomous state actors and to forces of state capture.
On the National Minimum Wage, Wabba said there are still some states that are yet to implement the national minimum wage of N30,000.
He said, “Do we need to make this point again and again that the National Minimum Wage is an Act of the Parliament and so is binding on all employers in Nigeria who are so categorized by the number of workers in their employment to pay the national minimum wage?
“Unfortunately, the worse violators of the national minimum wage law are employers in the public sector especially State Governors. There is no begging anyone to comply with the provisions of the law. Perhaps, a very pragmatic way to deal with this would be to provide special penalties against public sector employers who violate the national minimum wage law. We should also consider the use of the court of law to assert the sovereignty of our laws and compliance to same.”