By Tosin Kolade
Abuja – The National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC has rejected the delay by the Federal Government to commence implementation of the New National minimum wage.
NLC President, Dr Ayuba Wabba, and its immediate past General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, who jointly signed the communiqué, at the end of its meeting in Kano, called for the immediate implementation effective from the day the Minimum Wage was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new minimum wage bill, which was signed into law by the president in April, had been stalled over the issue of relativity and consequential adjustment of salaries following deliberations between government and labour.
“The NEC noted with dismay the continued delay by the Federal Government and other tiers of government to implement the new national minimum wage of N30, 000 as recently enacted.
“The NEC emphatically posited that the government can no longer hide under protracted negotiations with workers in the public sector for consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage to delay the implementation of the new national minimum wage.
“After very vigorous deliberation on the need to immediately implement the national minimum wage, the NEC insists that the payment of the new national minimum wage should commence immediately.’’
On challenges of insecurity, the NEC said that there had been increase in the wave of insecurity in the country, especially due to resurgence in kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery, communal clashes and Boko Haram attacks.
The NEC expressed alarm at the recent confessions of a recently arrested bandit who allegedly disclosed that helicopters drop weapons for criminals, thus suggesting possible collusion between criminal elements and big-time financiers of criminality.
“The NEC also expressed worries over recent upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram terrorists who recently attacked three local governments of Gubio, Magumeri and Konduga in Borno North and the villages of Dille, Lassa, Ngurthlavu, Dagu, Yaffa, Maikadiri, and Kidlindila in Askira/Uba local government area of Borno South.
According to the communiqué, most of the victims of the renewed security breaches in the country are workers and poor citizens, noting with alarm the impact of the rising wave of criminality on the lives of citizens and the socio-economic conditions in the country.
It reiterated that the primary responsibility of government was the security of lives and property, calling on government at all levels to improve in the quality and quantity of policing deployed for the security of citizens and property.
It noted that the NLC had resolved to convene a National Security Summit to dispassionately engage the current challenge of insecurity in Nigeria and proffer sustainable solutions.
NLC said that to this effect, rallies would hold across the country to sensitise government and citizens on the need to address insecurity.
It called on government to further empower the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to prevail upon DISCOs to scrap the practice of estimated billings, enforce relevant laws and guidelines outlawing estimated billings and immediately deploy pre-paid meters to electricity consumers all over the country.
“This would be in line with earlier deadlines given by NERC to DISCOs to supply pre-paid meters to electricity consumers in the country; and
“While rejecting further hike in electricity tariff, the NEC called on the government to make electricity available and affordable.
“It was the conviction of the NEC that continuous hike in electricity tariff and persistent power outages present huge financial burden for businesses thus making goods and services produced in Nigeria not to be competitive as goods cum services produced elsewhere.’’
On the national economy, the NEC also urged government to take adequate steps to develop people oriented socio-economic policies to address endemic poverty and inequality faced by workers and citizens all over the country.
It commended the Federal Government for the executive order mandating that the uniforms used by the military and para-military services, students, prisoners and other persons required to wear uniforms be produced in Nigeria.
“It was the considered view of the NEC that such policy directives go a long way in mobilising support for locally produced goods and ensuring the competitiveness of local industries and manufacturers.’’
The NEC commended the Federal Government for robustly engaging social partners particularly organised labour and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, prior to Nigeria’s ratification of the signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA.
It urged the Federal Government to robustly negotiate and finalise the clause on “The Rule of Origin” and “Sensitive Products” to ensure that goods traded within the AfCFTA have significant local content.
“The NEC also implored government to ensure protection of identified sensitive products. This is in order to pre-empt turning Nigeria into a dumping ground.
“We encourage sister trade union centres in Africa to robustly engage their governments on AfCFTA implementation to protect the interest of workers and local economies in the continent.’’
On protection of Civil Liberties including Right to Peaceful Protests, the NEC reiterated the traditional position of congress on the protection of fundamental human rights including the right to freedom of association and right to peaceful protest.
It however urged government security agencies to ensure respect for those rights.