The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo says government officials have not demonstrated cost reduction as they still go about with “endless convoys” despite the effects of fuel subsidy removal on the masses.
Comrade Osifo says it is time for politicians and the elite to make more sacrifices that will benefit the masses of the country.
“For example, the convoys. You see governors, they are still going about, business as usual. You see the new legislatures, you see their convoys, it’s endless,” Osifo said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
Osifo also decried the cost of governance while drawing attention to the dwindling capital expenditure
“Today, we still import all manner of cars from different parts of the world but you have some cars that are being manufactured in Nigeria. Why can’t you create policies that would encourage the manufacturing sector and also reduce the cost of governance?” he queried.
Osifo said Labour proposed N200,000 as the new minimum wage from N30,000 because it anticipated that the government would float the naira and allow market forces to determine the exchange rate of the national currency.
He argued that the value of N30,000 five years ago when the minimum wage was last reviewed has so far reduced with mounting inflation rates, soaring food prices and transport fares, amongst others.
According to him, the only commodity that was subsidised for the people was taken away. describing the people as the easiest target.
“Nigerians are facing a lot of hardship all across, it is really hard and it is really terrible. You are asking the people to tighten their belts but at the end of the day, what have you brought to the table? What is the contribution of the political class to this economic logjam that we are today as a country?
“What we are saying is that if the Federal Government was not able to fund subsidy, at whose expense? What were the things they were doing with our funds? All the money that they have borrowed, the ways and means that went over 23 trillion naira – what did they do with it?” he asked.
The Labour leader stated that the Federal Government must offer explanations to Nigerians on what the monies borrowed have been used for as well as why the country has a huge debt profile
“They need to also offer explanations to Nigerians, not that at the slightest provocation, they push Nigerians to the streets and they tell them that we must tighten our belt meanwhile they are loosening theirs,” he said.
The TUC boss noted that these issues are the basis of conversations the union is having in the sub-committees to come up with a position that will ameliorate the pains of Nigerians.
The Federal Government had on Monday resumed negotiations with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the TUC on measures to alleviate the impacts of the removal of the petrol subsidy on Nigerians.
On June 5, the labour unions suspended their planned strike to protest the removal of petrol subsidy after a meeting with representatives of the Federal Government.