ARISE NEWS analyst, Sam Amadi spoke on the 30-day suspension of the National Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union (TUC) strike after talks took place at the presidential villa where the government and Labour came to an agreement.
The agreement includes a 6-month suspension of VAT on diesel and increase in federal workers’ salary by N35,000 until a new national minimum wage is agreed, among other things.
In an ARISE NEWS interview on Tuesday, Amadi stated that the truce allows Labour to take action if the government violates the agreements.
He speculated that the agreement is merely a desperate move by the government to compromise and subdue Labour’s strike threats and pointed out that the agreements were not well considered as a more effective approach would involve mitigation steps rather than “palliatives”.
“What I expected is a mitigation. What they have done now is more in line with palliative. It must deal with the impact of a policy in real time.
“The palliative must address the shortage in real time income. Which is what a grant of N35,000, whether it is good enough, or maybe for about 800 federal workers or so, is not good enough to deal with for a large impact in the economy. But at least if you scale it up, that’s more like a mitigation, and not rolling out industrial policies that are good for economic development.”
The analyst raised concerns on whether the government could fulfill its promise as the country still has pending issues to be solved and that the current settlement may not be sustainable.
“We can’t eat our cake and have it. If we, as a country as we are poor, know that we have a revenue crisis, and we have a debt crisis then we have to act as people who have these crises and not outsource risk to lower income earners.
“My problem is that the economy we are running is an economy of dumping refuse on the poor. Then we allow the rich to have their way.”
Amadi also suggested that a benchmark in cost of governance would promote transparency in the situation so as to manage the economy. He also stated that some of the policies, specifically the promised N100 billion for the importation and running of CNG-powered buses, are out of budget for the government and that Labour should perhaps take more politically strategic steps in their demands rather than banking on strikes as their only weapon.