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Labour Suspends Planned Strike As FG Halts Electricity Tariff Hike

The Organised Labour under the auspices of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has suspended the strike planned to commence on Monday.

The NLC and TUC had called for a nationwide strike to protest against the increase in electricity tariff and the price of fuel.

The suspension of the strike came in the early hours of Monday after the unions brokered an agreement with the Federal Government over the price hikes.

After a meeting that lasted several hours, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read a communique announcing the decision reached by both parties.

It stated that a technical committee comprising labour leaders, government agencies and ministries would in two weeks look into issues concerning the recent electricity tariff hike.

According to the communique, this is to validate “the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout.”

“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments.

“An all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MoU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented.

“All parties agreed on the urgency for increasing the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the overdependency on importation of petroleum products to ensure energy security, reduce cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians,” the agreement further read.

NLC delegation at the meeting

As part of moves to reduce the price of fuel, the labour unions and the government also agreed on rehabilitating the nation’s refineries.

“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,” the communique read.

“The Federal Government will facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing 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.”

Government delegation at the meeting

The five-page communique was signed by the representatives of the government and labour.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.

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