Thursday, April 18, 2024

Begin Food Importation To Curb Hardship- TUC

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to begin the importation of food in two weeks to mitigate the soaring prices of food across the country.

This was disclosed by the President, TUC, Festus Osifo, during a press conference on the economic hardship ravaging the country on Monday in Abuja.

Since the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu on May 29 Inauguration Day, the cost of living has risen and inflation figures have been pushed to new highs in Nigeria.

Speaking barely 24 hours before the two-day nationwide protest of the NLC, Osifo stressed that Nigerians have never witnessed this level of hardship before even during military regimes, adding that the problems are not unconnected to the government’s poor patronage of locally made products and services, and lack of capable hands at the helm of affairs.

NLC Disagrees TUC On Nationwide Protest Call

TUC had earlier backed out of the planned two-day nationwide protest declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress over the high cost of living, inflation, insecurity, and hardship in the country.

The Vice-President of the TUC, Tommy Etim on Wednesday said the decision to protest on February 27 and 28 as announced by the NLC was not taken collectively by both unions.

The TUC in a letter dated February 19, 2024, written by its Secretary General, Dr Nuhu Toro, said the NLC unilaterally took the decision on the planned protest.

Meanwhile, Osifo said, “Nigerians must live to see tomorrow before we can understand how beautiful a government policy is. The national pride of striving to achieve food sufficiency locally should be temporarily relaxed. Governments at all levels should immediately purchase sufficient quantities of food items from different parts of the world and share them with vulnerable Nigerians.

“Importing food abroad at this point will assist to reduce the hyper-inflation of food in the country. FG should allow importation of food items for Nigerians consumption within the next two weeks,” he added.

The TUC president advised Tinubu to as a matter of urgency strengthen the economic management team of his administration and also look beyond party or tribal lines to headhunt the best Nigerians throughout the world who could sit down and develop homegrown solutions to the hardship menace.

He further called for the passage and implementation of a new minimum wage law that reflects the current economic realities.

“The Federal Government’s economic team should work towards a more realistic rate of the naira to dollar, which they pegged between N500 and N800 to the dollar.

“There should also be a clamp down on currency speculators, especially those online, who have made remittances from abroad drop.”

The TUC leadership, however, called for the rolling out of petroleum products by the Port Harcourt Refinery by the end of Q1 2024 to reduce the high cost of Petroleum Motor Spirit nationwide.

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