Why NLC should resist proposed 50% VAT increment

When this administration came on board in 2015, it came with the change mantra; so we expected the government to do things differently and obey the constitution to the letter.

The last wage increase was done in 2010 during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government and the Nigerian constitution stipulates that every five years, the minimum wage should be reviewed.

The first assignment President Muhammadu Buhari’s government should have embarked upon when it came on board was to review workers’ wages, since 2015 was five years after the last review in 2010. Even if the wage increase was just symbolic, from N18,000 to N21,000, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would not have raised an eyebrow.

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They would have said since this is his first assignment, it means he has the workers’ interest at heart, hence let’s understand. Which means the next wage review would have been 2020/2021. We wouldn’t have been talking about wage increase now. But nothing of such happened, instead, in 2016, there was 50 per cent massive devaluation of the naira due to low income from crude oil sales, which further impoverished the Nigerian workers and triggered a recession.

The recession is never over; it will take at least five years from the year it begins for it to be over. NLC should resist the proposed 50 per cent VAT increment which according to the Federal Government is meant to meet the minimum wage of workers. Must government impoverish the workers before they pay them the wage they deserve? N30,000 is even not a deserving wage; just a miserly $83. This act is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

What are we doing with 43 ministers, over 400 government agencies and embassies in up to 100 countries? Early this year, the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, advised the Federal Government not to toy with VAT increase idea. Does Federal Government not respect the ideas of its party leaders?

In order climes, the party and its ideology is supreme, but here in Nigeria the reverse is the case; the President has the final say. But ironically without the party, President Buhari would not have been elected to become president.

 

David Atta,

Abuja

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