NLC TELLS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Presidency that the organised Labour will not accept cuts in salaries or the reversal of the N18,000 minimum wage in the name of dwindling state finances but rather government should reduce the high cost of governance as it promised.
In a statement signed by the Acting President of the Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, NLC noted that statements by government officials in the past few days pointed to an intent to further increase the price of fuel and deepen the poverty of the people.
'The Federal and State Governments have the duty and responsibility to pay wages as at when due without any cut. If these were to occur, Labour and its allies would have no choice but to resist,' he warned. The Congress also advises the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration to stop toying with the lives of Nigerians by seeking to further increase the price of fuel as evident by its endless and wasteful campaigns to remove so called fuel subsidy.
He noted that the expression coming from the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that the excess crude fund had been depleted to $3.6Billion and that Nigerians should brace for hard times especially if the prices of crude oil were to take a dip was all an indication that the government was warming up to inflict pain on the masses. .
Comrade Ajaero addede; 'The Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi further made the hints clearer when in a follow-up statement at the week end in New York, he said a reduction in the price of crude oil '… would lead to a massive depreciation of the currency, a collapse in the reserves and a huge growth in deficits'. With this, he declared that many states would be unable to pay salary'.
The NLC declared that the depletion of the nation's funds was by the Government and not the people and that the primary problem was the massive corruption in Government.'For instance, while the Presidency proclaimed that the country spent N1.3 Trillion on subsidy in 2011, the Central Bank Governor under Oath in the House of Representatives gave the subsidy paid for the same period as being over N1.7 Trillion while the actual figures spent were over N2.3 Trillion.
'Also, the Presidency said that the country's daily petrol consumption is 34 million litres. The PPPRA said it was paying subsidy for over 59 million litres daily while independent sources during the House probe revealed that the country's consumption is far below the Presidency's claims. 'Besides, the Ministers of Finance and Petroleum admitted under oath that contrary to the constitutional stipulation that all monies accruing to the country should be paid into the Federation account, the NNPC was helping itself to the funds before paying the balance to the Federation'', he stated.
The NLC acting president said the Presidency should reduce the high cost of governance as it promised and ensure more devolution of power including resources to the states.
The Congress also demanded from the Federal and State Governments not to take steps that can worsen the political and security situation in the country.'If they do, they shall be endangering the collective interest of the good people of our country and be testing their resolve on sovereignty lying with the Nigerian people from whom all power must flow.
'NLC does not accept that the Nigerian people should continue to be impoverished by the lack of vision and planning by our leaders. Nigerians have been made to suffer for too long due to the profligacy of our rulers and the Congress will not accept additional suffering being heaped on them,' he stated.
The Congress also condemned the process through which the country's oil earnings in dollars was converted to Naira before sharing by the various arms, stressing that it lacks transparency.