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NLC Counters Governors, Writes Buhari On Ways To Rescue Economy


NLC Counters Governors, Writes Buhari On Ways To Rescue Economy

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has countered the recommendations made by the Nigerian Governors in order to rescue the country’s economy.

Naija News had reported that the governors had asked the Federal Government to sack federal civil servants older than 50 years and offer them a one-off retirement package.

In their recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari, the governors also advised the government to raise the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15-20 percent and introduce a flat rate of 3 percent.

The governors said their recommendations were part of coordinated efforts to instill fiscal discipline and prevent the nation from imminent economic collapse.

However, in a letter dated August 8th and signed by its President, Ayuba Wabba, and sent to President Buhari, the NLC urged the federal government to raise taxes across the board for the rich.

The NLC also advised the federal government to make a 50 percent salary review of workers, due to current global realities and also warned against the increase of VAT.

According to the letter, the union called on the governors above 50 years to resign from office, adding that leading by example would spur public servants to also resign.

The NLC said the implementation of the retirement proposal would lead to the sacking of about a quarter of the public sector workforce.

It, however, supported the governors for quick implementation of the updated Stephen Oronsaye Report and the centralisation of the collection of all federal oil and non-oil taxes in one agency.

It said: “Pursuant to this if state governors strongly believe that age 50 is the problem, we demand that all governors, public office holders and politicians above 50, as a mark of good faith, should immediately step aside. Leading by example would spur public servants to take a cue.

“While we commend you for your thoughtfulness for a wage increase, the truth of the matter is that given the misfortune that has befallen the Nigerian populace, especially workers with fixed incomes, there is an urgent need for a massive intervention much deeper than the 22 percent. We would recommend a 50 per cent salary review across the board given the realities on the ground.

Speaking on the governors’ proposal on the increment of VAT, the union said it would make the poor pay more taxes while the rich pay little or nothing.

It said: “These recommendations seek to make the poor pay more taxes while the rich pay little or nothing in clear violation of the well-known norm of the rich paying taxes to cover up for the poor.”

It urged the federal government to “raise taxes across the board for the rich, including increased taxes on luxury goods and lifestyles.”

The union also disagreed with the governors on petrol subsidy removal, saying it could lead to unintended consequences for the country.

It said: “Truth is that the little benefit the average person in Nigeria enjoys could lead to unintended consequences which we would be better off without.

“The solution to subsidy and the ballooning deficits lies in domestic refining, effective management of our refineries, and creating an enabling environment for effective and efficient public sector leadership in the building and management of local refineries.

“We do concede that a quick and enforceable resolution of the conflicts around ownership of gas in various entities is key to freeing up investment space for foreign direct investment and local businesses in the country.

“Sadly, prolonged inter-agency fighting has become a familiar feature of your government. You would need to put your foot down pending the paperwork.”