Governors of the 36 states of the Federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), have cautioned the Labour unions to shelve the planned industrial action to force the Federal Government to rescind its decision to hike oil and electricity prices in the country, as the economy will be worst hit.
The emergency meeting was convened to deliberate on two key issues – ALGON Vs FAAC: deduction of LGC statutory allocation for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 LGAs; and the NLC and TUC call for a national strike action over the recent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and increase in Electricity Tariff.
The communique read: “On the call for a national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Forum believes that the labour unions should exercise caution on the call for a strike action, noting that any strike action will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While expressing concern over the call for a national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Forum members suggested the provision of a cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of subsidy removal.
“Governors conﬁrmed during the meeting that an Industrial Court had barred Labour from embarking on its planned industrial action but nevertheless decided to use the intervening period to mediate between the stakeholders.
“After a long and arduous deliberation on the two issues, the Forum Resolved to: Call on the Minister for Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation not to disburse to receiving entities monies already deducted for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 LGAs, and that further deductions should be halted forthwith;
“Constitute a Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti (Chairman), Ebonyi, Delta, Gombe, Plateau, and Kano States to represent State and local governments on the matter. “The Committee will also approach Mr. President, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Judicial Council and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to appeal against the judgement; Intercede with the Labour Unions, the Federal Government and other stakeholders and especially call labour to exercise caution in its plan to embark on an indeﬁnite strike action, noting that any such action will worsen the already deteriorating economic situation of the workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic;
“Set up a Committee made up of the Governors of Jigawa (Chairman), Nasarawa, Ogun, Kwara, Gombe, Abia and Bayelsa States to interface with the National Economic Council, the Labour Unions and relevant stakeholders for the overall interest of the nation. The NGF Secretariat will provide relevant support to the Committee on the details of the mechanism for deregulation put in place by the federal government;
“Call for an Emergency NEC meeting as soon as the Committee comes up with a common position on the deregulation of both the petroleum and power sectors and the ﬁgures laid bare for all to see;Finally, members advised that any position taken by the Forum should not be seen to be contrary or injurious to the position State Governors have always maintained in support of deregulation. Governors insisted that subsidy in the petroleum sector, apart from promoting corruption in petroleum pricing and distribution, brings about loss of revenues to the three tiers of government and loss of jobs to the populace.”
By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye,