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Halt freefall of Naira, NLC tells Nigerian govt

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has asked the federal government to find a way to halt the freefall of naira against other international currencies to save millions of Nigerians devastated by high inflation.

Despite efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria, naira keeps depreciating in value, exchanging at the inter-bank market at about N315.60 to the dollar on Thursday. At the parallel market, it exchanged for N470 to the dollar.

The high exchange rate has fueled inflation to sky high levels, with the latest figures by the National Bureau of Statistics showing an increase to about 18.3 per cent in October, from 17.9 per cent in September.

The NLC said it was concerned at the abortive efforts by the Central Bank to arrest the fall of the naira against other international currencies, saying the harm and pain from the devaluation and the attendant inflation have caused massive distress to millions of Nigerian families across the country.

The NLC took a review of the state of the nation and noted that the protest rallies in May against the increase in the pump price of petroleum products justified its positon that tying fuel price crude oil price at the international market and the black market exchange rate was not sustainable.

The NLC’s statement was signed by its president, Ayuba Wabba, and general secretary, Peter Ozo-Eson.

The NLC urged the government to consider a more “pocket-friendly template on petroleum pricing” in view of the pressure by devaluations of the Naira and inflation on workers’ wages, quality of life.

NEC frowned at the refusal of government to obey the court ruling on the 45 per cent hike in electricity tariff eight months, noting that power stability was key to industrialization, self-sufficiency and economic growth.

The Council said the continued existence of poor quality of service, arbitrary charges, unwillingness of distribution companies to provide consumers with prepaid metres and a funding gap of N1trillion was a reflection of lack of capacity to turn the energy sector around.

Lamenting over the poor condition of the Nigerian workers, pensioners and their families, the NLC said these are some of the most challenging times in the life of the nation, as cost of goods and services have more than quadrupled, while wages and pensions remained static.

Although NEC commended government’s commitment to the fight against corruption in the polity, it frowned at instances where corruption was being rewarded and whistle blowers punished.

It cited the case of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) where the appointments of 23 staff were terminated for exposing the corruption involving their managements.

It warned that the NLC might be compelled to act in defence of its members if government failed to take the necessary steps address the issue.

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