Workers Day: “Under Tinubu, life has significantly gotten worse” – NLC and TUC regret

May 3, 2024 | International | 0 comments

Amidst Nigeria’s observance of International Workers’ Day, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have voiced deep-seated concerns regarding the declining standard of living during President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

In separate statements, representatives from both labour unions underscored the severe economic challenges faced by workers and citizens alike.

Benson Upah, the Head of Information and Public Affairs for NLC, highlighted policies such as the removal of fuel subsidies, currency devaluation, and hikes in electricity tariffs as major contributors to Nigerians’ hardships.

Upah emphasized that these policies have resulted in a significant devaluation of the Naira, skyrocketing inflation rates, and mounting economic pressures on ordinary citizens. He called upon President Tinubu to reconsider these policies and prioritize the welfare of Nigerian workers.

He expressed, “Life has become increasingly difficult. What’s even more distressing is the absence of any signs of improvement. Just when workers were grappling with this dire situation, the government imposed a staggering 250 per cent increase in energy tariffs, leaving workers with no reprieve. Life has been exceedingly challenging for workers over the past year. We can only hope for better days ahead.”

He continued to specify, “The rash decision to remove fuel subsidies, the volatile floating of the Naira, and the surge in electricity tariffs—these three significant policies have notably diminished the value of the Naira. Inflation currently stands at 33.2 per cent, with food inflation hovering at a staggering 40 per cent. The devaluation of the Naira following these policy changes amounted to roughly 200 per cent, leaving Nigerians longing for stability. Unfortunately, more trials followed.”

Similarly, TUC President Festus Osifo, addressing a Pre-May Day Lecture in Abuja, emphasized the imperative for both federal and state governments to prioritize workers’ welfare.

He criticized government policies that overlooked the interests of workers and advocated for a paradigm shift towards people-centric policymaking.

Osifo cited the arbitrary increase in electricity tariffs, executed without proper stakeholder consultation, as an example of policies that adversely impact workers’ livelihoods.

He lamented, “We’ve witnessed various policy inconsistencies and abrupt shifts where the welfare of the people is relegated to the sidelines. A glaring example is the unilateral increase in electricity tariffs without due process or engagement with key stakeholders who should have been consulted before making decisions that directly affect the lives of workers.”

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