The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Friday, vowed to hold President-elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) accountable in respect of his party’s promises to Nigerians and workers in particular.
The unions made the vow at the 2015 May Day celebration with the theme: “The Working Class, Democratic Consolidation and Economic Revival: Charting the Way to National Rebirth’’.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, urged the incoming administration to resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel complex, saying the plant was the cornerstone of Nigeria’s industrialization programme.
“Unfortunately, our political class has refused to accept the simple truth that no country can truly industrialize without iron and steel industry. The fate of Aladja, Osogbo, Jos and Katsina steel rolling mills post-privatization is too grim to recall here,” Mr. Wabba said.
He said that resources were locked up in the soil and that any country “subserviently” reliant on importation, was only exporting jobs.
The Comrade also urged that attention be payed to agriculture as it has the capacity to create millions of jobs for Nigerians, Mr. Wabba said the government must also lead the way by creating incentives to attractive young people through the provision of agricultural inputs, equipment and other relevant infrastructure.
“There is also the need to establish a strong linkage between different sectors of our economy, especially with regard to promoting industrialization and manufacturing. This will focus on turning our agricultural products and other natural resources into quality semi-processed and fully processed goods.’’
On the issue of unemployment, he noted that the incoming administration had promised to create three million jobs yearly.
“Our leadership will take up all levels of government on their commitment to job creation and will not relent till we see tangible results on these scores,” he said.
Speaking on the minimum wage, the comrade said;“The National Minimum Wage of N18, 000 that was negotiated in 2010 is clearly no longer of any meaningful economic value to workers. The five-year circle for periodic review of the National Minimum Wage is at hand. We wish to use this May Day celebration to give formal notice that we shall table a request for a new minimum wage for consideration soon after the new administration is sworn in,” he said.
TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, called the attention of the incoming government in the areas of economy, national security, anti-corruption war, national unity and cohesion, among others, saying if the president-elect most succeed it for tackle these issues firmly.
“This should be done in such a way that 60 per cent of our total annual revenue projections would be dedicated to the enhancement of social infrastructure and human capital development.’’
He said the incoming government must fashion out effective ways of checking the wastage of the resources, curtailing theft in the oil sector, money laundering, over-invoicing and double-invoicing of contracts, dumping of foreign goods and excessive borrowing among others.
“We charge the incoming government to chart long-term goals but focus on the implementation of short-term and medium-term goals.’’