By Kayode Oyero
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Monday night, faulted the palliative measures announced by President Bola Tinubu to cushion the biting effect of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians, saying the programmes to be rolled out by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government are totally out of touch with economic realities and hardship currently being faced by poor citizens.
In a statement on Monday, hours after the President’s special broadcast to Nigerians on his plans to alleviate the suffering of the citizens, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said “the promises and assurances made by President Tinubu is not the silver bullet that Nigerians expected”.
“The speech indeed appears to be out of touch with reality and anomalous with the hardship and suffering that most Nigerians are going through now,” the NLC leader said.
Tinubu had removed subsidy on petrol during his epic inauguration speech on May 29, 2023, with a litre of the petrol jumping from N184 to over N620 and food prices and general inflation galloping at an unprecedented rate.
In his address on Monday, Tinubu promised to review workers’ salaries and minimum wage.
He also announced a N75 billion palliative for the manufacturing sector, saying 75 businesses would benefit within a nine-month period spanning the third quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of next year.
The President also noted the administration’s recognition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector as drivers of growth.
Tinubu went on to declare a N125 billion fund to energise “this very important sector”.
To boost the agricultural sector, Tinubu disclosed that N200 billion would be spent as part of its plans to support the cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course.
According to him, provision has been made “to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 to acquire 3000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses”.
However, the NLC said the President was expected to tell Nigerians his plans to resuscitate public refineries which have been lying comatose for so many years but he was completely silent on the issue.
The union had threatened a nationwide protest starting August 2, 2023 if the government failed to do the needful.
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