TUC seeks stakeholders meeting on fuel subsidy, lauds budget

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“… we are still not comfortable with the decision  of government on subsidy. The Congress therefore demand for a stakeholders’ meeting which include labour to discuss the subsidy issue and why it has become impossible for us to refine and purchase fuel for  as low as N50 per litre. The price of crude oil in the international market had dropped drastically. This should have a direct effect on domestic consumption of the product.”

Those were the words of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in its analysis of the 2016 budget proposal as presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday.

While commending the Federal Government for the overall thrust of the budget proposal, the umbrella organisation of Nigeria’s senior civil servants also dared state governors who have threatened to either cut down the minimum wage or trim workforce.

The TUC, in a statement signed by its chairman and General Secretary, Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Musa Lawal respectively, commended the government for the N6.08 trillion 2016 budget proposal.

It expressed worry however, “that our challenge as a country as regards national budget is not how to propose, draft or present a good budget but its implementation.”

It is also worried that about N1.8 trillion will be borrowed to fund the budget.

The union stated: “The decision to recruit 500,000 unemployed graduates and  National Certificate of Education (NCE) holders as teachers to curb the escalating rate of unemployment and to ensure that all the Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) are captured and brought under the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) are laudable ideas. The move will not only reduce the burden of manual preparation of payrolls but also curb cases of sharp practices in the system and will also help to compile the list of the less-privileged in order to implement better transfer programme. We urge that the policy be made transparent and inclusive without discrimination.

“Additionally, we are still not comfortable with the decision  of government on subsidy. The Congress therefore demand for a stakeholders’ meeting which include labour to discuss the subsidy issue and why it has become impossible for us to refine and purchase fuel for  as low as N50 per litre. The price of crude oil in the international market had dropped drastically. This should have a direct effect on domestic consumption of the product.

“The proposed deficit financing  at ₦2.22 trillion is certainly on the high side. This could be reduced by the recovery of stolen funds . We therefore support the government to use looted funds for the benefit of Nigerians.

“The budget is a good one as has addressed majors issues that could change the life of a common man but implementation is our fear.  We believe if the budget is properly implemented Nigeria is surely on the path to greatness again.

“Finally, we charge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, warn the governors who want to sabotage the administration by saying they cannot pay ordinary N18,000 minimum wage. We dare them to try it!”

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