By Anayo Ezugwu
FOLLOWING the suspension of the planned industrial action by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, the federal government has agreed to suspend the new electricity tariff. The federal government says it has fashioned out palliatives that would ameliorate the sufferings that Nigerian workers are experiencing as a result of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments and deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
In a communiqué issued by the federal government and the labour unions on Monday, September 28, the government said the palliatives would be in the areas of transport, power, housing, agriculture and humanitarian support.
It stated that a specific amount would be unveiled by the government in two weeks’ time from the Economic Sustainability Programme Intervention Fund to be accessed by Nigerian Workers. It noted that another provision for 240,000 under the auspices of the NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the CBN and the Ministry of Agriculture.
“The timeline will be fixed at the next meeting. The federal government will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable. The federal government will make available to organized labour 133 CNG/LPG driven mass transit buses immediately and provide to the major cities across the country on a scale-up basis thereafter to all States and Local Governments before December 2021. Housing: 10 percent will be allocated to Nigerian workers under the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance initiative through the NLC and TUC,” it said.
The parties also agreed to set up a technical committee comprising ministries, departments, agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for duration of two (2) weeks effective from Monday 28 September 2020. The communiqué stated that the committee would examine the justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout.
The members of the committee include the Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, as Chairman; Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedy-Agba; Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, James Momoh; Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari as the Secretary. Other members are Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Joe Ajaero, NLC, Chris Okonkwo, TUC, and a representative of electricity distribution companies.
To address the challenges in the downstream sector, the parties resolved that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, should expedite the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to achieve 50 percent completion by December 2021, while timelines and delivery for Warri and Kaduna will be established by the inclusive steering committee.
“To ensure commitment and transparency to the processes and timelines of the rehabilitation exercise, the management of NNPC has offered to integrate the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association into the steering committee already established by the corporation.”
– Sept. 28, 2020 @ 12:25 GMT |