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NLC Says Strike Inevitable After FG's Budget Fails To Provide For Fuel Subsidy

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, December 14, (THEWILL) – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on Nigerians to begin preparations for a general strike after the federal government failed to make budgetary provisions in the 2012 appropriation for the contentious subsidy on petroleum products.

President Goodluck Jonathan Tuesday presented before a joint session of the National Assembly a N4.749 trillion proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year with security getting the largest provision of N921.91 billion.

“Since the government of Jonathan has elected to punish the Nigerian people through a budget that is poverty inducing and will cause a lot of hardship, the Nigerian people will have no alternative but to resist.

“We call on all Nigerian workers and people to begin preparations for a general strike and mass protests. The people must be prepared in the next few weeks when the Jonathan administration begins to implement his anti-Nigerian policy. Nigerians should prepare to occupy the streets and public institutions to prevent them from being taken over by anti-patriotic forces,” the NLC said in a statement by Ag. General Secretary, Owei Lakemfa.

The leadership of the union is scheduled to meet next Tuesday to firm up strategies for the industrial action, the statement added, while it urged, “the National Assembly to side with the electorate and the Nigerian people by refusing to pass this budget” and asked the “Jonathan administration to seriously have a rethink by reviewing his budget proposal, or be ready to take on the Nigerian people.”

The NLC statement reads:
The 2012 Budget: A Disaster Waiting To Happen!
A critical perusal of the year 2012 budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday showed clearly that the present government has no intention to lead the country out of the present socio- economic crisis. The budget, which was tagged: Budget of Fiscal Consolidation, Inclusive Growth and Job Creation, is actually an anti-peoples budget designed purely in the service of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and their local lackeys who dictate to the Nigerian government. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

In particular, the exclusion of fuel subsidy in the budget is not only tragic, but a declaration of war on the Nigerian people. Thus, the Nigerian people will have no choice but to confront this challenge.

This further attempt to impoverish workers and the Nigerian poor, is coming at the heels of increased tariff on electricity, the move to massively sack workers in the name of merging parastatals, the attempt to collect more taxes through the return of toll gates, the refusal to adequately fund education, and refusal to pay minimum wage, which is an impeachable offence.

Despite the country’s security challenges, it is curious that the Jonathan government has allocated a massive lion share of the budget to security. In the first instance, the major cause of the increasing wave of insecurity in Nigeria is lack of education and mass unemployment, which are direct consequences of the general collapse of public infrastructure such as public electricity, roads, education, health etc. The security challenges are further compounded by lack of political will and abysmal ineptitude of security agencies.

No one should underestimate the general mass poverty, unemployment and discontent that has increased bottled up anger in our polity. The removal of fuel subsidy will provide the spark for mass protests such that even the increased security vote cannot buy enough arms to contain.

Since the government of Jonathan has elected to punish the Nigerian people through a budget that is poverty inducing and will cause a lot of hardship, the Nigerian people will have no alternative but to resist.

We call on all Nigerian workers and people to begin preparations for a general strike and mass protests. The people must be prepared in the next few weeks when the Jonathan administration begins to implement his anti-Nigerian policy. Nigerians should prepare to occupy the streets and public institutions to prevent them from being taken over by anti-patriotic forces.

The NLC leadership will be meeting on Tuesday December 20, 2011, to firm up strategies and give directive on the commencement of this protest and the resolve of workers and the Nigerian people to reclaim their country back.

We call on the National Assembly to side with the electorate and the Nigerian people by refusing to pass this budget.

We also ask the Jonathan administration to seriously have a rethink by reviewing his budget proposal, or be ready to take on the Nigerian people.