Over 3.7 million workers lost jobs in 2016 – NLC

Over 3.7 million workers lost jobs in 2016 – NLC

Over 3.7 million workers across the country lost their jobs in 2016, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba disclosed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Capital on Friday.
The NLC President who dropped the hint at the 4th Quadrennial national delegates’ conference of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria linked the sad development to change in the economy and policy inconsistency.
“In Nigeria today, the inequality gap between the rich and the poor is widening with not less than 3.7 million workers losing their jobs in 2016”, he stated.
The situation, he said would not change if the citizens did not demand for transparency and accountability in governance which the NLC recently waged campaign.
He insisted that the challenge in the economy was man-made, not an act of God, stressing that it would take man also to correct it through good policies, righteousness, transparency and accountability.
Wabba posited that the fight against corruption in the country should not be limited to the government at the centre alone but should cut across the three tiers of Federal, State and Local Governments.
He said it was a sad commentary that while some states used the recent Paris-club refund released by the Federal Government for payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners entitlements judiciously, others diverted same into their pockets.
The NLC boss argued that for the economy to pick up, citizens must have disposable income to spend, pointing out that today many families and working class could not afford decent food as bag of rice is even more than a minimum wage.
“We also demand that there must be process of accountability at all levels, they must account for the money they have received, because workers and pensioners are not paid at the state levels and the economy is not galvanised to move forward”, he said.
“Of recent we are aware that government receive some financial supports in form of bail out and Paris club refund to many states
“It is very sad that few governors were able to use this funds very judiciously. It is also very clear that many of them have also pocketed this money. It is a contradiction that we are fighting corruption and it should not be limited to the centre it should also be extended to the states, therefore while Mr. President has released the second tranche of the Paris club refund we also demand there must be process of accountability in the state because those monies are being released and yet workers and even pensioners are not being paid the economy is not being galvanised to move forward.
Therefore we must demands for accountability at all level and the governors must account for the one they have received because we are aware that N19 billions have been diverted from the first chunk that was released and nobody looks at it as a challenge.
“And for us to get out of those quagmire, both the political elite and citizenry must be on the same page towards working to address those challenges
He said the conference was a good opportunity for the maritime workers to look at the state of affairs of the union, labour movement and the maritime industry in the country.
Wabba emphasised that while maritime sector of the economy creates the wealth of most of countries of the world the situation in Nigeria was a sorrowful one.
Again, the NLC President said the challenge at the development of our port was not lack of fund but policy inconsistency.
“Every port around the world generates 60-70 percent wealth of that country, so therefore our country must not be an exception. Why are we crying that the economy is not doing well when this important sector is yet to have the reforms it deserve.
“The unnecessary bottlenecks, multiplicity of functions of many government agencies need to be addressed quickly so that these ports can be users, business friendly to develop our economy.
“This is our bane and challenge, policies are formulated in the interest of few not in the interest of majority. Ports like Dubai, Singapore and others around the world are still being operated by government through a very transparent process.
“So our problem in Nigeria is not about policies but about inconsistency and also lack of policy option that will be in the best interest of the country”, he stated.
Earlier, the Outgoing president of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, comrade Anthony Emmanuel Nted, said that, the survival of the country’s economy depended on the workability of the maritime sector, stressing that, the country’s maritime sector had suffered because of policy inconsistencies
“Therefore any government policy that affects efficiency of the Ports and quality service delivery is bound to have collateral effect on the entire economy”, he said.
He posited that, what the country’s Ports was passing through was not because of its facilities, workers of stakeholders, “but unrefined government policies that has made it very difficult for the Ports operators and mangers to operate and function optimally”.
According to him, within his four years at the helms of affairs of the union, 6000 members of the union were trained in various capacities building locally, while 300 members attended overseas training respectively.
He called on those contesting to take over from him to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship, so that the result of the election should not tear the union apart.

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