It’s unjust to make Nigerians bare brunt of fuel subsidy removal-TUC tells Tinubu
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has asked the federal government at to cut cost of governance rather
placing the burden of the fuel subsidy removal completely on the shoulders of the people.
The President of TUC, Festus Osifo stated this at a Press conference in Abuja on Monday.
Osifo, who criticized the timing of some of the new administration’s policies, said it was completely unjust for those in power to continue forcing poverty on the populace while they bask in wealth.
He asserted that given the nation’s current economic woes, it was only proper for the various arms and tiers of government to set an example by making the necessary adjustments themselves.
He charged President Bola Tinubu to start by reducing the number of his aids and making sure that each new minister only has a maximum of two assistants.
“So we are canvassing for a basket that will contain alternatives to PMS, palliatives and reduction of the cost of governance, because, government cannot continuously ask the workers and the battered Nigerian masses to continuously tighten their belt. We have adjusted our belts and we have even exceeded the lap hole while in the government, they are continuously increasing their largesse.
“So for us it shouldn’t be the case of an animal farm where all animals are not equal. We are all Nigerians . If you tell us that there is a crisis, everybody must contribute to solving it. It should not be to the detriment of the downtrodden Nigerian worker.
The burdens should not all be put on the citizens, they must be willing to tell us the sacrifices they are willing to make.” He said.
The labor leader likewise requested that the government expedite the work of the several committees overseeing the consultation on the withdrawal of fuel subsidies.
Osifo said that the Congress could only support concrete incentives that would be transparent and tangible, adding that they would not tolerate any additional attempts by the government to impose cash transfer palliatives.
On the proposed increase on electricity tariff, he said; “You would be adding salt to people’s injuries if you increase the electricity tariff. Nigerians’ endurance level is getting to the limit. It may get to a point that Nigerians would not be able to take this anymore. When you are bringing about policies even when the policies are the best, you must look at the timing and how to phase them out for you not to make the citizens suffer.
“We also say no to the proposed 7.5 percent VAT on AGO. It has been deregulated and the market forces are what determine the price. Today, if you introduce the VAT on AGO, we should be ready that this similar VAT will be introduced to PMS. As of today, they are listening but we have communicated with some of our affiliates that are directly responsible for this to continuously monitor if the government wants to introduce this through the backdoor. “
The TUC President further called on the government to be mindful of policies that would erode the take-home pay of Nigerian workers by introducing all manners of tuition fees from the Unity schools to tertiary institutions.
“We understand there is a student loan but if you look at the provision of the law students of any household where the parents are earning the N30,000 minimum wage cannot qualify for it. It clearly shows they are not willing to give the loan to anybody. There are other stringent conditions attached to it. For us, this should not be a yardstick to start increasing fees drastically. Fees are being increased by 1000 percent, “ he said.