The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended the nationwide strike scheduled to commence today (Monday 28 September 2020) to protest the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol prices.
The planned action was suspended after reaching an agreement with the Federal Government in a meeting that lasted over 6 hours, which ended by 2:50am on Monday.
Confirming the development, Quadri Olaleye was quoted by Punch as saying “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.
“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”
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What was agreed
According to the communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour;
“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments,”
A technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC, and TUC that will work for two weeks would be set up with the Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) as Chairman
The committee’s task would be to examine the justifications for the new policy “in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout.”
FG has fashioned out palliatives in the areas of transport, power, housing, agriculture, and humanitarian support to ameliorate the sufferings that Nigerian workers may experience as a result of the hike in cost electricity tariffs and the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
In two weeks the Federal Government will announce a specific amount to be accessed by workers with subsequent provision for 240,000 under the auspices of NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture.
This is to cushion the impacts of the downstream sector deregulation and tariffs adjustment in the power sector according to the communique.
FG will also facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.
133 CNG/LPG-driven mass transit buses immediately will be made available to the organized labour by the FG. The government will provide to the major cities across the country on a scale-up basis thereafter, to all states and local governments before December 2021.
“On Housing, 10 percent to be allocated to Nigerian workers under the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance initiative through the NLC and TUC,” the communique disclosed.
It was agreed that the composition of DISCO’s boards would reflect the 40 percent stake of government in the DISCO and the stake of workers.
It was also agreed that “an all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MoU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented.
The government and its agencies agreed to ensure delivery of 1 million CNG/LPG AutoGas conversion kits, storage skids, and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme by December 2021 to enable the delivery of cheaper transportation and power fuel.
The rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries will be expedited with 50 percent completion achieved in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna by December 2021 whereas while timelines and delivery for Warri and Kaduna will be established by the inclusive steering committee.
A team comprising the representatives of the NNPC, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, NUPENG, and PENGASSAN would be established to monitor the progress of the rehabilitation of the refineries and the pipelines/strategic depots network and advice the steering committee periodically.
In addition, NNPC shall involve the PENGASSAN and NUPENG in the process of establishing the operational model of the nation’s refineries after the rehabilitation process.
The statement added, “The Federal Government will facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, the involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing the framework for financing in the downstream sector.
“NNPC to expedite work on the Build, Operate and Transfer framework for the nation’s pipelines and strategic depots network for efficient transportation and distribution of petroleum products to match the delivery timelines of the refineries as agreed.”