COVID-19: NLC, CSOs demand quick rehabilitation of oil refineries, Ajaokuta complex

•Warn against increase in fuel price, retrenchment by private sector employers

AS short and medium term measures against severe impact of COVID-19 on the nation, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its civil society allies have demanded a quick rehabilitation of the nation’s four oil refineries.

Under the Labour Civil Society Situation Room on Covid-19, they also warned against fuel price increase under the guise of subsidy removal.

The Labour Civil Society Situation Room also demanded that the private sector employers should stop the retrenchment of workers under the guise of Covid-19.

In a communique issued at the end of its meeting held at the Labour House, Abuja, it called for adequate protection for workers and a home-grown citizen-centric economic model as a sustainable response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting which was chaired by the President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, reviewed a range of recent developments pertaining to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria particularly on the economic front.

The communique was signed by Comrade Wabba, the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, the Country Director, Action Aid, Comrade Ene Obi, and the Chairman, LASCO, Abuja, Comrade Jaiye Gaskiya.

According to the communique: “Labour Civil Society Situation Room demands a quick rehabilitation of our four oil refineries. We also warn against further increase in the price of imported refined petroleum products under the guise of removal of under-recovery cost or the withdrawal of the so-called petroleum subsidies.

“Once our refineries are working, Nigeria would have no business wasting scarce foreign exchange on importation of refined petroleum products or sustaining a corruption infested fuel subsidy regime.

“We call for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex, proper governance for our solid minerals sector, revival of moribund textile factories and other manufacturing concerns as a demonstration of our commitment to economic diversification.

“We demand that private sector employers should stop the retrenchment of workers in the guise of COVID-19 as such moves would only impair efforts geared at economic revitalisation.”

It added: “The continued incidence of job losses, income deprivation and denial of the means of livelihood for workers by some employers in Nigeria on the excuse of Covid-19 is a source of worry to us.”

It expressed concern over the poor synergy in the implementation of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVID-19 protocols by different tiers of government across primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions.

“The rising cases of exposure and infection among Nigerian health workers in private and public health sectors (primary, secondary and tertiary) owing to the dearth of personal protective equipment, conducive work environment and specialized training for health workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic is worrisome;” the communique added.

 

 

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