Organised Labour Monday in Ibadan, Oyo State, warned the Federal Government against any further hike in the pump price of fuel and Electricity tariff to avoid the wrath of workers and Nigerian masses.
National Audtior of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and President of of the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, NUCFLANMPE, Babatunde Olatunji, gave the warning while speaking at the NUCFLRANMPE 29th Annual Nationwide Industrial Relations.
According to him, “increasingly, we are hearing rumours and insinuations that the Federal Government is planning to increase the pump price of fuel and also electricity tariff. We want to appeal to the government not to increase the pump price of fuel or electricity tariff. We want to appeal to the government not to tempt our patience with any more hike in electricity tariff or pump price. If the government tries it and increase the pump price of fuel or hike the electricity tariff, we, as organized labour will not accept it and we will resist with everything we have.
“If anything, what the government should do is to device measures and palliatives to cushion the effects of the economic hardship and suffering across the land. The government should not inflict more pains on workers and the ordinary Nigerians. We are facing a lot hardship at all corners, so the government should not add to our woes to avoid social unrest across the country.”
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He also lamented the increasing insecurity, high inflation and poor power supply, saying “presently, the inflation rate stands at double digits which is discouraging to investment thereby constituting a cog in the wheel of manufacturing sector’s activities. To purchase raw materials has become so difficult due to restriction in accessing Foreign Exchange, FOREX while the exchange rate is unfortunately unfavourable to the Naira.
“Another major challenge is inadequate infrastructure to support manufacturing. Power supply is at the lowest ebb. Presently, the total power supply in Nigeria stands at 4000 megawatts for about 200 million people while South Africa with 50million population boasts of 58,000 megawatts. Industrialisation cannot take place where there is no adequate power supply. Poor roads network is another major constraint to the manufacturing activities .Roads from the sources of raw materials and the markets are no longer motorable.”
In a keynote address, Executive Secretary of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employers Federation, CANMPEF, Mr Femi Oke, among others, said “Our nation’s Growth Development Product GDP, growth is negative and population continues to grow faster than output. Consequently, more people are getting poorer.
“Devaluation of the naira with exchange rate of N430-N440 to USD for investors according to the recent statement by the CBN Governor has led to scarcity and inadequate FOREX for manufactures to import raw materials for production. As result there is 12 – 14 percent rise in inflation, real interest rate will remain negative, increase in cost of distribution, companies profit performance dwindling and key business are not employing, in fact they are laying off employees.
“Today, over 21 million Nigerians are unemployed which is population of Burkina Faso and no social safety net. The purchasing power of the average worker is falling. This is adversely affecting sales of consumer products.
“With the global recession and dwindling income from the crude oil sales the government should prioritize sales of forex to the manufacturing organizations.
• They should make efforts to curtail the rising inflation in the country, Reduce the port congestion issues, Stop multiplicity of levies from the agencies from the Local, State and Federal Government, Prioritize infrastructural development and maintenance, concerted efforts should be made to improve the security situation in the country.”