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‘We were not consulted’ — NLC faults FG’s N5bn subsidy removal palliative to states

BY Ayodele Oluwafemi

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has faulted the disbursement of N5 billion loan to states as a palliative to cushion the impacts of the petrol subsidy removal.

Speaking in an interview on Channels Television on Friday, Joe Ajaero, NLC president, said the federal government has institutionalised the “attitude of sharing money” instead of thinking outside the box.

In August, the federal government announced a N5 billion palliative package for each state of the federation, including the federal capital territory (FCT).

Some state governments had announced the receipt of the cash palliative.

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On Friday, Wale Edun, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, said only N2 billion out of the N5 billion loan has been disbursed to the states.

Speaking on the cash palliative, Ajaero said labour unions did not have any discussion with the federal government on the disbursement of the N5 billion.

“What is that N5 billion for? The federal government is giving allocations to state governments,” he said.

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“How does that concern us? Whether it is N5 billion or N10 billion, how does that concern labour? Is there any agreement about that?

“In the state where you have three million people, do you think anybody can get N1,000?

“That money is not for us (labour unions). We are negotiating with the government. We are trying to look at the effects of the subsidy removal and we have not arrived at N5 billion for you to share N1,000 to people.

“If the government is giving money to the state governors to share, that is not within the mandate we have in terms of negotiating with the Nigerian government.

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“We should not bother ourselves with this issue of the federal government giving state governments N5 billion.

“Is N5 billion for palliative? That N5 billion, we don’t know what it is all about. There was no conversation around that N5 billion.

“If we share N5 billion and even the five trucks of rice or grains, many people may not get one cup or a half cup of rice or N1,500. Is that a palliative?

“We can think outside the box. But when people appropriate to themselves the monopoly of knowledge then those are the kind of challenges we are going to continue to face.

“When we have institutionalised the attitude of sharing money then that is where we are.”

The NLC president said the federal government should have channelled the fund for the provision of gas-powered vehicle.

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