Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have expressed concerns over the removal of fuel subsidy, pointing to its potential impact on Nigerians and workers. Both unions said Nigerian workers may not survive the effect amid receiving N30,000 minimum wage.
President-general of SSASCGOC, Surajudeen Alakija who is also the deputy president of Trade Union Congress (TUC) emphasised the importance of stakeholder engagement before implementing such a decision.
He said the president’s inauguration day pronouncement had already resulted in a series of events, including the introduction of new pump prices by the NNPC.
Alakija who stated this at the Quadrennial Delegates Conference of Maritime Branch questioned the fate of subsidies already paid between now and June 30th and called for the government to engage workers to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal.
Alakija criticised the lack of transparency surrounding subsidies, referring to them as a scam.
He highlighted the absence of information on who receives these subsidies and the substantial annual amounts involved.
While acknowledging the need for subsidy removal, Alakija shared a personal experience of purchasing fuel at an exorbitant price of N540 per liter, amounting to N10,800 for 20 litres. He contrasted this with the minimum wage in Nigeria, which stands at N30,000, equating to less than $50 at the current exchange rate.
Alakija questioned how an average Nigerian could survive under such circumstances and called for a roundtable discussion with stakeholders and the government to address the impact of subsidy removal.
Alakija mentioned the recent deadlock in the meeting between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the government, expressing discomfort with the approach taken in the negotiations.
He emphasised the importance of a roundtable discussion to find a viable solution, incorporating statistical data, facts, and figures to determine what is achievable.
While acknowledging the significance of the Nigeria project, Alakija urged that no workers should be sacrificed in the process, highlighting the need to strike a balance between national development and worker welfare.
Joining the chorus, the outgoing president, SSASCGOC, Abdullahi Abubakar said the removal will have an effect on Nigerians as it affects all homes.
Abubakar also appealed to the federal government, through the minister of Transport and Works to expedite action on the dilapidated Quay Apron at Tin Can Island Port and that of Onne Port Access Road which is continuously (constant) resulting in litigation and loss of revenue.
He said amid the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic, the Union with her scarce check-off dues swung into action and procured protective materials alongside some immune boosting medicine (drugs) and reach-out to all staff that were reporting to the office.