PDP, NLC criticizes FG on economy

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the ruling All Progressives Congress to come up with feasible policies that would restore the country’s economy.

PDP urged government to engage specialist in the management of Nigeria’s economy to diminish the rampant hardship in the country.

The PDP stated this in a statement issued yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye,  saying the country was in recession because the bad policies of the current administration.

Consequently, the opposition party has called on the Federal Government to increase money supply, raise disposable income and reduce taxation, which has led to high inflation and unstable prices in the money market.

“The bad policies of the APC-led government, no doubt, have occasioned this economic recession with its attendant consequences of extreme hardship, starvation, deprivation, insecurity and rise in ethnic, sectional and political agitations for self-determination,” the PDP said.

This is even as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) scored the President Muhammady Buhari administration low on its handling of the economy.

Short of classifying Buhari as clueless, the union said government has not shown it knows what to do to pull Nigeria out of recession.

NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, in a New Year message yesterday, noted that Nigerians were not feeling the positive impact of government’s plans for the economy.

“It is common knowledge that, in times of economic recession, governments put funds into the economy, building infrastructure and increasing social spending to reflate the economy. Not much is being done in this direction to get us out of recession. Government, on the contrary, is sticking to its neo-liberal economic management path.

“We were cautiously optimistic that the government has finally listened to the several criticisms about its lack of deft (policies) in handling of the economy. We, however, also noted that if the premise or rationale of government’s economic management is along the neo-liberal model, then nothing substantive would come out of it,” Wabba said.

The NLC, which also vowed to prevent job losses by Nigerians in the telecommunications and oil and gas sectors of the economy, said it was time Nigerians asked for the ruling APC’s scorecard in the area of job creation.

The APC government at the centre had promised in its manifesto to deliver three million jobs annually.

However, the NLC queried: “How many jobs has the Federal Government and the 23 states controlled by the ruling party created in the course of the last 20 or so months, in furtherance of its pledge to Nigerians during the electioneering campaign?”

Wabba said there was confusion over which ministry or agency of government was the focal point on job creation.

Wabba also lamented the dismal performance of the energy sector in spite of billions of naira pumped into the sector, even after privatisation. He said the current situation in the sector was exactly what the country would continue to grapple with when  the responsibility of the state is abdicated.

“Given our stage of development, our country needs to adopt the path of planning, the path of the state as the engine of development. Government, therefore, needs to reflect and possibly go back to the drawing board in view of unforeseen challenges, in order to deliver on the promise of change,” he said.

The NLC leader who vowed to ensure that the Federal Government constitute the tripartite panel to renegotiate a new minimum wage, which must be a living wage for workers, however, said 2017  presented an opportunity for the Buhari’s administration to review the previous years as well as the platform to re-strategise for better performance.

He lamented that the purchasing power of Nigerian workers has so depreciated that it was “pure miracle that individuals on the existing minimum wage of N18000 are able to make ends meet in 30 days.

“At the beginning of 2016, with the naira at N197 to $1, the minimum wage was equivalent of $91.3. At N495 to $1 this has in 12 month depreciated to $36.3. The May 2016 huge increase in price of fuel from N86 a litre to N145 a litre, and the attendant inflationary pressures, should have trigged an automatic increase in the minimum wage,” he said.

Wabba said with the erosion in the living standard of workers occasioned by the free fall of the naira and the rising cost of living, the Congress would insist on the new wage and ensure that Nigerian workers were not  made the sacrificial lamb of the recession.

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