Labour leaders not excited by Tinubu's N8,000 monthly cash transfer plan


President Bola Tinubu

By Esenvosa Izah

Some labour leaders are not excited by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s plans to dole out N8000.00 monthly to 12 million Nigerian households as part of the plans to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy.

President Bola Tinubu, in a request to the National Assembly, had indicated the intention to cater for the welfare of the vulnerable and poor households in the country under the National Safety Net Programme of the federal government.

He said that under the plan, the sum of N8,000 would be transferred digitally, monthly, to the accounts of 12 million poor and low income households for six months.

The monies are expected to stimulate economic activities in the informal sector and improve the standard of living in the beneficiaries’ households.

But the Labour leaders who spoke in an interview in Lagos said the N8000 is too small to tackle the effect of the rising cost of living on Nigerians.

A labour leader, Mrs Funmi Sessi, said giving N8,000 to 12 million households for six months will be like a drop of water in the ocean.

Sessi, Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos Chapter, spoke as stakeholders in the sector reacted to the government plan.

Sessi said: “Looking at the money and the effect of the subsidy removal that has escalated the prices of everything in the market, I wonder what the N8,000 can do for a family in a month.

“I wonder what it can buy and the services it can render for 30 days; N8,000 cannot take care of a family for a week; it is not possible; it is going to be like a drop of water in the ocean.

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“We do not know how the government is going to get clarity for those who will require it the most; how it will identify those who are most affected, and how the palliatives will get to those actually in need.

“Labour is asking for a pay rise; for those in abject poverty, we believe government can do better for them.”

The labour leader, however, urged the president to instead provide facilities and infrastructure to make Nigerians independent, to be able to provide for themselves and their families.

“It should profile those who want to do various agricultural activities, give them the resources and mobilise them, so that they can also become employers of labour,” she said.

Also, the President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Mr Oluwole Olusoji, said that the move was a repeat of the same old process that did not add real value.

“What people need is not cash handout but subsidised quality of service.

“Subsidised education up to a specified level; access to quality subsidised health services (free for children and established indigent families); subsidised government managed transportation and efficient infrastructure (power, roads and communication) will add better value, “ he said.

The National Deputy President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Mr Tommy Okon, also spoke on the issue.

He said it would be proper to allow the presidential committee on removal of oil subsidy to conclude its report and arrive at collective agreement with the organised labour before embarking on any palliative care distribution.

“Otherwise, it will amount to doing exactly what the previous administration did that yielded no positive impact on the environment and economy,” he said.(NAN)

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