Labour Halts Strike and FG Reverses Increase in Electricity Tariff
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) having reached an agreement with the Federal Government to suspend the strike, having reached an agreement to suspend the new price of electricity tariff for two weeks and work on improving the petroleum sector.
Chris Ngige, The Minister of Labour and Employment revealed in the five-page report signed by the representatives of both government and labour. Ayuba Wabba, NLC President and Quadri Olaleye, his Trade Union Congress counterpart amongst others, represented the Organised Labour while Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Timipre Silva, Minister of State Petroleum, Festus Keyamo (SAN), Minister of State Labour and Employment, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation, and others, represented the Federal Government in the agreement.
Olaleye Quadri of the TUC said ‘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.’
On Electricity Tariff
A technical committee was set up to work for two weeks, effective from today, September 28 to harmonise information with the FG, which will help both the FG and labour to be on the same page as concerns the electricity tariffs, metering deployments, and other challenges in the electricity sector.
Members of the technical committee include, Festus Keyamo (SAN), Minister of State Labour and Employment appointed as the chairman, Godwin Jeddy-Agba, Minister of State Power, James Momoh, Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, Ahmad Zakari, Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, appointed as the Secretary.
Other members also include Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Joe Ajaero (NLC), Chris Okonkwo (TUC) and a representative of electricity distribution companies.
The report highlighted that ‘During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments.’
It also noted that the Federal Government has arranged for palliatives that would reduce the sufferings that Nigerian workers may experience as a result of the increase in electricity tariffs and the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. It consented that an all-inclusive review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MoU to be shouldered before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented’.
On Fuel Hike and Other Petrol Industry Matters
‘All parties agreed on the urgency for increasing the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the overdependence on the importation of petroleum products to ensure energy security, reduce the cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians.’
To address this, the parties determined that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should speed-up the reinstallment of the nation’s four refineries situated in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna to achieve 50 percent completion by December 2021.
A team comprising the representatives of the NNPC, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, NUPENG, and PENGASSAN would be created to keep track of the rehabilitation progress of the refineries and the pipelines/strategic depots network and direct the committee intermittently.
It also stated that PENGASSAN and NUPENG shall be involved in the process of establishing the operational model of the nation’s refineries- rehabilitation,
The report further stated that, ‘ To ensure commitment and transparency to the processes and timelines of the rehabilitation exercise, the management of NNPC has offered to integrate the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association into the steering committee already established by the corporation’.
In addition, ‘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.’ Chris Ngige said.
The meeting further concluded that the Federal Government will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impact of the policy on vulnerable Nigerians.
The Federal Government would also make available to organized labour 133 CNG/LPG-driven mass transit buses and provide to the major cities across the country, thereafter, to all states and local governments before December 2021.