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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Subsidy removal: Nigerian workers fear impact on N30,000 minimum wage

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The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have raised concerns about the removal of fuel subsidy and its potential consequences for Nigerians, particularly workers who are already struggling with a minimum wage of N30,000. The unions emphasized the need for stakeholder engagement before implementing such a decision.

During the Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Maritime Branch, Surajudeen Alakija, the President-General of SSASCGOC and Deputy President of TUC, highlighted the events triggered by the president’s inauguration day pronouncement, including the introduction of new pump prices by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Alakija questioned the fate of subsidies already paid and called for the government to engage workers to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal.

Alakija criticized the lack of transparency surrounding subsidies, labeling them as a scam. He pointed out the absence of information on subsidy recipients and the significant annual amounts involved. While acknowledging the necessity of subsidy removal, Alakija shared his personal experience of purchasing fuel at an exorbitant price of N540 per liter, which amounted to N10,800 for 20 liters. He contrasted this with the minimum wage in Nigeria, emphasizing the struggle for average Nigerians to survive under such circumstances.

Calling for a roundtable discussion with stakeholders and the government, Alakija expressed discomfort with the recent deadlock in negotiations between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the government. He stressed the importance of finding a viable solution through dialogue, utilizing statistical data, facts, and figures.

Abdullahi Abubakar, the outgoing president of SSASCGOC, echoed the concerns about subsidy removal, noting its impact on all homes in Nigeria. He appealed to the federal government to address infrastructure issues, particularly the dilapidated Quay Apron at Tin Can Island Port and the Onne Port Access Road, which have led to litigation and revenue losses.

 

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