Organised labour, yesterday, renewed its call for the Federal Government to set up a platform that will facilitate dialogue on the calls for restructuring so as to address the myriad of problems threatening to tear apart the unity of the country.
Labour also lamented that after 57 years of gaining independence, Nigeria was still in clutches of the western world, which it said had drastically ruined its economy.
Addressing workers at the Independence day symposium and rally organised by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, at the Olaitan Oyorinde Hall, Pascal Bafyau Labour House, Abuja, National President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said from Labour’s perspective, restructuring, devolution of more powers and resources would only make sense if there was good governance.
He said: “In almost six decades of national independence, we are not where we ought to be in virtually all facets of development indexes, looking at our available human and natural resources. This much has been captured copiously in various analyses during the current and previous anniversaries.
“As we have seen from the various discourses/debates on restructuring, it means different things to different people, depending on their standpoints.For us in congress, however, restructuring cannot be a substitute for good governance and respect for the rule of law.
“On the occasion of our 57th independence anniversary, we must again ask the Federal Government to reconstitute the national minimum wage negotiating council to enable us negotiate a new national minimum wage for this country urgently.
“The 2011 collective agreement entered into with the government at the end of the last negotiations, provided for a five-year cycle, for reopening negotiations, which is overdue.
“Secondly, all economic indexes such as inflationary rate, cost of living index, exchange rate, high cost of goods and services etc, have all shown that the current minimum wage of N18, 000 is obsolete. There is an urgent need for the government to give the go ahead for these negotiations to start as workers are running out of patience.”
Comrade Wabba said it was high time the sovereignty of the country was retrieved from the clutches of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, WTO, lamenting that handing the economy to private individuals had compounded the woes of the country.
He said: “Despite our independence, because of the compromises and betrayal of our ruling elite, we are now grasping with neo-liberalism and the control of our decision and policy making processes, which are now dictated by multinational organisations of the IMF and World Bank and their sister hegemonic organisation, the WTO.”