By Lola Seriki- Idahosa, Kaduna
Organized labour has said Nigeria economy had the potential of faster recovery not just exiting recession, if the Federal and states’ governments had put an end to current persistent crisis of compensation of the working class manifesting in what it terms as “criminal” non-payment and delayed payments of salaries by many states governments despite serial Federal government bail outs in trillions of Naira.
Reacting in Kaduna in a statement to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) positive growth numbers of 0.55 per cent compared to the negative contraction of 1.6 per cent in 2016, Comrade Issa Aremu, General Secretary of Textile union and NEC member of NLC observed that Nigeria can only recover from economic recession with enhanced purchasing power “which is only possible through prompt and adequate payments of over 10million employed workforce”.
The labour leader who likened Nigeria economy to “a big blind economy (BBC) which gets excited with a dimmed ray of eye sight” said it was time Nigeria got ambitious in its quantitative and qualitative growth and development numbers. According to him, thee Federal government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan ERGP (2016-2020) launched last year envisaged 4.6 per cent restoration real GDP growth in 2017 adding that the “recent token positive growth of 0.55 per cent was a far cry from the planned target” .
Comrade Aremu who is also a labour representative on the National Wages and Salaries Commission said the key to sustainable development is improved labour productivity in both public and private sectors which is only possible with motivated paid workers at work and after work through quality pensions. The federal government he advised must urgently address the crisis of compensation in all sectors notably education sector and come to terms with ASUU strikes by paying all outstanding allowances while ensuring service delivery on the part of academic workforce. “Nigeria economic recovery is elusive with constant avoidable work stoppages and loss of human hours in an economy trying to exit recession” he observed. Comrade Aremu said the “Federal government must ease the cost of doing business as much as it must ease the cost of living of the working people through prompt payments of wages and pensions.”