President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba has faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari led-government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to have in 2017 allegedly caused hundreds of thousands Nigerians to lose their jobs, forcing them into impoverishment.
Wabba, who stated this in his New Year message, accused the APC led-federal government of failing to fulfill its promise to create three million jobs annually.
He noted that year 2017 was difficult for Nigerians, reason owing to the failure of the ruling APC to initiate policies capable of improving the deplorable economic situation of the country.
According to him: “Rather than work to create jobs and improve the conditions of workers and Nigerians in general, leading elements in the ruling APC government, like Governor Nasir El-Rufai have been taking measures to further chastise and ruin Nigerians by throwing tens of thousands of workers into the already saturated unemployment market and wretchedness.”
Wabba regretted that states like Kogi, Osun, Benue, Ekiti, Bayelsa and several others entered 2018 with huge arrears amounting to 10 or more months of wages and pensions, not minding the huge revenue they received from the Paris Club loan refunds and other interventions to clear arrears of salaries and pensions.
Vowing that he would mobilise workers for the full payment of the outstanding salaries and pensions in the New Year, the NLC president said that “as the 2019 general elections approached, workers would not forget governors who refused to pay their earned entitlements while paying themselves, their political appointees and cronies’ huge packages.”
He further decried what some Nigerians has described as APC New Year gift to Nigerians, the persisting fuel scarcity across the country, lamenting the kind of sufferings Nigerians have been subjected to due to the fuel scarcity in the country.
Wabba noted that despite several assurances and government claims that removal of subsidy on petroleum product would end scarcity that the current energy crisis still occurred.
He regretted the buck-passing existing between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the petroleum marketers, and said that the scarcity was caused by nothing else but the refusal of the government to refine crude oil locally.
He wondered how Nigeria could be depending on importation of refined petroleum, lamenting that the country remains the only major producer of crude oil that does that.
He said, “For us in the Congress and for majority of working people in Nigeria, the hope placed on the capacity of President Buhari to bring about positive change is being undermined by his government’s inability to address the infrastructural deficit and other related problems in the oil industry, such as making our existing refineries work at optimal capacity by refining products for domestic consumption.”
He also spoke on the new minimum wage, expressing hope that upon completion of negotiations, that the National Assembly would give the executive bill that will emerge, an accelerated passage for the new national minimum wage to become a reality before the end of the 3rd quarter of 2018.
He added: “As we move into 2018, our expectation is that the executive arm of government will push for the implementation of key anti-corruption protocols and good governance principles in our public and private institutions.”