By: Afolabi Oyekunle.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has offered several suggestions to the government on how to deal with the effects of the petroleum subsidy removal on the people.
Speaking in Lagos on the removal of the subsidy, the National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Dr. Tommy Okon, at the monthly forum of the Labour Writers of Nigeria, urged the federal government to purchase enough mass transport buses and distribute to all the states, which in turn will distribute to the local governments.
According to him, this is the best approach to the high cost of transportation as a result of the subsidy removal. Dr. Okon said within six months everything will calm down and the transport fares will be reduced, which will also affect the high costs of goods and services.
Dr. Okon a member of the committee set up by the government to look at the palliative measures also called on the government to pay other allowances that are not taxable that would make the income of workers to be meaningful.
He said the government could give workers palliative allowance among others. According to him the issue of a national minimum wage is a constitutional matter, and advised the government to invest in infrastructure that can sustain the economy, and empower the people.
Dr. Okon said Labour is unhappy that the government did not wait for the report of the committee set up to work out the palliative to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.
According to him the government failed to wait for the report before the increases on petroleum prices
The Senior Civil Servants President said the government reliance on the directives of the World Bank will not do good to Nigeria’s economy and the people, as the Bank is not interested in the growth of the country’s economy, but rather for Nigeria to continue to devalue its currency which is to the detriment of the people.
He accused multinational companies of indirectly controlling Nigeria’s economy to their own advantage.
Dr. Okon challenged members of the Legislative arm to be alive to their responsibilities as representatives of the people and refuse to be rubber stamp to everything that comes from the Executive.
He advised them to always dissect proposals from the President as not all issues should be given automatic approval
He called on workers to believe in the Labour unions as they would continue to work in their interest.
Dr. Okon said though this is a trying period for workers and Nigerians, leaders of Labour would not abandon their responsibilities to see that they are comfortable.