The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), declared on Tuesday that the total neglect of funding of public health and educational institution is the cause of endemic poverty in the country.
Presenting his speech to the 7th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of NASU in Abuja, President of the union, Comrade Chris Ani, said the failure go the government to fund education, research and health is at the heart of endemic poverty among workers and Nigerian populace.
“The union has played and continue to play a critical role in struggles aimed at ensuring that governments at all levels adequately fund educational, health and research institutions.
“We do this, conscious of the fact that the neglect of the funding of our public health and educational institutions is at the heart of endemic poverty among workers and the masses of this nation.”
Comrade Ani was speaking on the theme of the Conference: “Funding Education, Health, Research Institutions and Other Social Services in a Depressed Economy: Challenges and Prospects.”
He lamented that the public office holders were no longer concerned with the state of public health and educational institutions as they and members of their families have since lost faith in these institutions.
“They rather have opted to patronising privately funded health and educational institutions at home and abroad, at great cost to taxpayers of this nation,” he said.
The NASU President also said the union has daily advocated and struggled for improved salaries, wages, allowances and other conditions of services as well as the security of jobs of its members, and other workers in Nigeria.
On the state of the economy, he pointed out that Nigeria’s economy has remained in a state of comatose as a result of over-reliance on revenue from oil.
According to him, government at all levels have become extremely lazy in terms of fashioning out and implementing policies that will grow the economy and bring about real development of the nation.
He said, “the only viable economic policy known to the federal and state governments is the monthly convergence in Abuja by Ministers of Finance, State Commissioners of Finance and other government functionaries to share revenue from the federation account generated through the sale of crude oil and taxation.
“This state of affairs continues to foist on the nation, economic crisis, which governments at all levels hide under, to downplay the role of the state, in favour of the role of markets in economic development; attacks on collective bargainings and agreements; cut on public expenditure on staff welfare; wage freezes/wage stagnation; less protection for workers who are left at the mercies of powerful employers including governments.”
He re-emphasized that Nigeria’s economy needs to be diversified and that economic policies of governments must aim at grown and development; adding that the policies must have as its focus, the wellbeing of citizens.