December 4, 2023

Subsidy pains: Labour insists on protest as Tinubu okays N500bn palliative, 3,000 buses.

The organised labour has said it will hold its planned nationwide protest on Wednesday despite the Monday rollout of subsidy removal palliative plans by President Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu had in a national broadcast unveiled N500bn palliative for manufacturers, small businesses and farmers. He also released plans to increase salaries and acquire 3,000 mass transit buses.
Notwithstanding the President’s last-minute moves to avert the protest, the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Joe Ajaero, said the rally would hold in line with its schedule.
Ajaero spoke shortly after talks between the organised labour and the Federal Government on Monday became inconclusive. The talk is expected to resume on Tuesday (today).
The Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives meeting between the government and labour was held at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Ajaero allayed the fears that the peaceful protest could be taken over by hoodlums, saying that such had never happened in any of its workers’ protest.
However, he said security agencies were responsible for safeguarding workers in such exercises.
The meeting of the steering committee was adjourned till 12noon on Tuesday.
On his part, the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, said issues around the subsidy removal were discussed at the closed-door meeting, after which it was later adjourned.
He also said the government was dealing with the oil cabals that have crippled the economy.
He added, “But we believe that after tonight broadcast, President will speak to all the issues, he will roll out his interventions and needless to say we believe any reasonable person will tell you that at that point there will be no need for any protest.”
On why the government did not roll out palliatives before ending the subsidy regime, he argued that the previous government did not budget for subsidy and that President Tinubu was rolling out palliatives to cushion its effect on the people.
Also speaking, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, pleaded with the organised labour to give the administration some time to fix the economy.
Meanwhile, Tinubu on Monday announced the release of N500bn palliative even as he promised a new wage for workers.
In a move to assuage the agony of Nigerians who are smarting from the pains of the fuel subsidy removal, the President also said 3,000 buses would be provided to address the high transportation fares occasioned by the hike in fuel pump prices.
Tinubu reeled out the promises in a nationwide broadcast on Monday evening titled, ‘After darkness comes the glorious dawn.’
The announcement is coming less than 24 hours to a planned strike and protests by the Nigerian Labour Congress over the removal of the fuel subsidy and the failure of the Federal Government to implement palliatives to cushion the attendant hardships.
But taking time to explain the reasons for the policy measures his administration had so far taken to combat the economic challenges facing the country, the President disclosed plans to roll out 3,000 CNG-fuelled mass transit buses in states and local council areas.
He said the Federal Government is working closely with states and local governments to implement interventions that will cushion the pains of the populace across socio-economic brackets.
Part of the programme, according to him, is to roll out the buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate.
He said his administration planned to invest N100bn between now and March 2024 to acquire 3,000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses.
The buses, he said, would be shared to major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capital, adding that participating transport companies will be able to access credit under this facility at 9 per cent per annum with 60 months repayment period.
According to him, manufacturers, medium and small scale enterprises and farmers will get a whopping N500bn share of the palliatives that would be rolled out.

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