We’ll resist planned increase in electricity tariff – TUC

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has vowed to mobilize Nigerians to resist the proposed increase in electricity tariff as canvassed by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, saying it was not the solution to the energy crisis in the country.

The congress also asked political actors in the country to avoid hate speeches in the count down to the 2019 general elections, while expressing concern over the increasing volatile political terrain which it said is not good for the nation’s fledging democracy.

The Congress, in a communique at the end of its National Executive Council meeting also expressed concern over the worsening security situation in the country, especially the resurgence of the Boko Haram insurgency and the persistent killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen in parts of the country.

In the communique signed by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Secretary General, Comrade (Barr.) Musa Lawal M. Ozigi, the congress wants the government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector as no nation can develop with power.

The TUC said it was worried about the worsening security situation in the country and in particular condemned the recent killings across the country by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and militiamen and asked the Federal Government to take drastic action to build citizens confidence in the system and ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to book.

It observed that our political terrain has become volatile once again and therefore enjoins all political leaders to ensure that peace and order are maintained amongst their followers, adding that “Politicians should avoid hate speeches so that both the common man and workers can attain fulfillment. It also calls on the Governors owing workers to pay and not convert public funds and workers salaries for election purposes.”

In the lingering fuel situation in the country, the TUC that thee current situation in which the NNPC is the sole provider of fuel to the nation and absorbing subsidies is not healthy for the nation and the corporation and advises government to reimburse the NNPC so as to enable it to perform its primary obligation to the country.

It want the Federal Government to begin the immediate payment of all outstanding subsidy claims by the petroleum marketers under the PPPRA-administered Petroleum Support Fund (PSF) to avoid consequential job losses which the nation can least afford.

The congress said that the delay in paying outstanding claims has stopped the payments of wages/salaries in the downstream sector in a scary dimension which must not be allowed to degenerate further.

It stressed that “It is expected that the Government would engage the Marketers as social partners under a special intervention arrangement that enables product marketer purchase foreign exchange (FOREX) at concessionary rates from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This will keep the prices at their current levels as well as encourage more participants. Government is called on to revamp the public owned refineries as well.”

While commending the Federal Government for the commencement of the Minimum Wage Committee it implores the Committee to speed up proceedings to ensure that a new minimum wage will take effect not later than the agreed third quarter of the year.

The TUC said further that the fight against corruption will not achieve the desired result without addressing the injustices being perpetrated by political office holders who collect multiple pensions and gratuities while still serving government in another capacity, saying this is not good for the economy.

It asked the Federal Government to declare emergency in the power sector as no nation can develop without power, while expressing dismay that several billions of naira has been expended in the sector to no avail, adding that the call for tariff hike cannot be a solution and will be resisted.