By Omeiza Ajayi
The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has commended the decision of organised labour to shelve its planned industrial action earlier slated to begin on Monday.
Monday’s planned nationwide strike was shelved following the federal government’s brokering of an agreement with the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress NLC and the Trade Union Congress TUC on the increase in electricity tariff and the price of fuel.
“The welcome and positive development is in line with the proven pro-people stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration which has always put the welfare and interest of the masses first in policy decisions and implementation. Indeed, the shelved strike is a victory for the Nigerian masses”, APC said in the statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena.
APC noted that the federal government is temporarily suspending the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments by DISCOs to allow for an all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations is evidence of government’s pro-people stance.
“Again, to reduce the cost of petrol, the federal government and labour agree on the urgency to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries and increase our local refining capacity so as to reduce the overdependency on costly importation of refined petroleum products.
“To cushion the impacts of the downstream sector deregulation and electricity tariffs adjustment on the Nigerian masses, the federal government is among others implementing palliatives which can be easily assessed by Nigerian workers and financed from the Economic Sustainability Programme Intervention Fund with subsequent provision for 240,000 under the auspices of NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Also, agreed is the removal of tax on minimum wage to cushion the impacts of the policy on the vulnerable; immediate provision to organized labour of 133 CNG/LPG driven mass transit buses; 10% housing allocation to Nigerian workers under the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance initiative through the NLC and TUC, among others”, it said.
The party added that the President Buhari government has made solid commitments to rechannel saved national resources from the stopped fuel subsidy and deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector to other critical sectors such as infrastructure, health and education.
“The APC calls on all well-meaning Nigerians and stakeholders to cooperate, partner and monitor the implementation of these commitments and agreements reached by the federal government and organised labour.
“Finally, the Party welcomes President Buhari’s transmission of the much-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill 2020 to the National Assembly. No doubt, the PIB will provide a necessary legal framework to the long-sought reforms and ongoing deregulation of the petroleum sector in the country”, the statement added.