The meeting between the Federal Government and the organised Labour on Monday, over the removal of fuel subsidy and increase of electricity tariff, ended in a deadlock.
The meeting which was held at the Bouquet hall of the Presidential Villa, in Abuja where the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige encouraged the stakeholder to join head and deliberate on how Nigeria can thrive the economic challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic
Senator Ngige noted that the reason for the dialogue was to consider the state of the economy and event that has caused the recent surge in electricity traffic and the price of petrol.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, urged the labour to show more understanding with the government over its policies.
According to the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Nigeria lost about N1billion daily between the year 2016 and 2019, as a result of fuel subsidy and N3.74billion daily before 2016.
“There are a lot of issues to discuss; from 10 o’clock we haven’t been able to trash out all the things; I think it will be right to set committees to further deliberate and resolve them,”
Ayuba Wabba who is the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), disputed that the increase price of fuel increased and electricity tariffs with would increase the economic hardship facing Nigerians.
Wabba mentioned that workers who due to COVID-19 lost their jobs and source of livelihood are being forced to make more sacrifices.
“Those issues that constitute the price are part of the inefficiency in the system which the government hitherto has been paying and christened subsidy. The government cannot transfer the inefficiency to the people. Nigeria should refine its products,”
“At this point, what do you have on the table to cushion the effects on workers – their families because they have been pushed to the wall and already at the edge. Do you have anything for us? So that we can now say that despite these challenges, this is what I have for Nigerian workers that they can have something that can cushion this effect for them.”
“That is the reality. In Ghana, compare their minimum wage with our own; in all West Africa countries, including Niger Republic that has just started refining recently, they are now serving us with products. That is not how we ought to be.”
The meeting ended with no agreement reached, while no date was fixed to continue the talks.