NLC opposes release of fresh Paris Club refund to states

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to release the third and final tranche of the Paris Club refund to state governors until they make a concrete commitment to use the money to settle outstanding salaries, allowances and pension of workers and retirees in the country.

The congress is also demanding an immediate and comprehensive audit of all monies so far spent in government effort at reviving the power sector in the country since 1999 which it said has failed to yield result, but rather produce several billionaires as a result of diversion of the funds.

In a communique made available to newsmen at the end of its Central Working Committee meeting, the Congress is asking the government to immediately inaugurate the National Minimum Wage negotiating committee in view of the impoverishment of workers.

The communique signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and General Secretary, Dr, Peter Ozo-Ezon also wants the federal government to compel state governors to properly account for the bailout they received from the federal government as well as the two tranches of the Paris Club refund which was supposed to be used for the payment of salaries and pensions, but diverted to other uses.

The Congress regretted that government has not lived up the expectation of Nigerians and are in the habit of reneging on signed agreements with unions, pointing out that the ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities was avoidable.

The congress said that “many of the discussions around restructuring have not paid adequate attention to the question of health. It resolved to set up a committee to harmonise the various views expressed at the meeting with a view to articulating a congress position on the issue for subsequent presentation to the organised labour.

“It reviewed the continuous non payment of months of outstanding salaries of workers in some states of the federation as well as various arrears of pension which has also run into several months which is the actual situation despite President Buhari’s passion to address this matter since he assumed office by giving bail out to governors to clear this shameful state of affairs with the nation’s workforce.”

The Congress also deplored the poor service delivery in the power sector saying, “since the current administration came to power in May 2015, it had given N740 billion to the power sector as intervention fund without much to show for it. CWC therefore cannot comprehend the rationale behind the administration’s preparedness to give a further N39 billion bailout to DISCOs for metering purpose.”

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