The meeting between the Federal Government and the organized Labour held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday over the hike in electricity and fuel tariffs ended in a stalemate.
The meeting called by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress in attendance. Also in attendance at the meeting were the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Reports say the Labour movement refused to agree with the Federal Government arguing that Government cannot push their negligence on the populace asking why Government spent Billions of Naira on Refineries only to shut it down without a kobo yield.
Labour also said the hike was not justified at the time several workers’ were suffering from the effect of the pandemic asking Government to ensure payment of the minimum wage.
The Labour movement said it will commence its mother of all strike from September 23 as planned.
On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Sylva said all is not well with the economy, calling for cooperation to fix the economy
While making a presentation on the topic, “Understanding the importance of fuel subsidy on the Nigerian Economy and the gains of deregulation,” Sylva noted that subsidy payment is a major source of corruption.
According to the minister, oil prices are low, adding that there is also a cut in production to about 1.412 million barrels per day.
Sylva who stressed that the nation’s major source of income which is oil, reduced by over 50 per cent, maintained that Nigeria was losing about N1billion daily to subsidy between 2016-2019.
Prior to this time, the country was losing about 3.7 billion naira daily.
Speaking further, he explained that despite the deregulation, fuel price in the country is the cheapest in the West African region.
He added that subsidy cost the government N2trillion in 2011 and N1.3trillion in 2013.
It was learnt that the meeting which is at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari was to discuss solutions to the recurring labour issues with a view to finding an end to incessant industrial actions.
This comes as the labour unions are threatening to down tool over the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
They are also complaining of non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, alleged corruption in government agencies, loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not booming in the light of the effects of COVID-19.
The labour unions and their civil society allies are meant to commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23.