The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to device a means to stop the continued depreciation of the nation’s currency against major currencies, which has led to high inflation.
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s efforts to arrest the slide have not been yielding much fruits as the Naira keeps depreciating, exchanging at the inter-bank market at about N315.60 to the dollar on Thursday and N470 to the dollar at the parallel market.
Latest date from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, showed an increase in inflation to about 18.3 per cent in October, from 17.9 per cent in September.
The Labour Union said it was worried at the fruitless moves by the CBN to bring the situation under control, saying the devaluation and the attendant inflation have caused massive distress to millions of Nigerian families across the country.
The Labour Congress took a review of the state of the nation and noted that the protest it embarked in May against the hike in fuel price of petroleum products justified its position that tying fuel price crude oil price at the international market and the black market exchange rate was not sustainable.
Rising from its meeting, a communiqué signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson reads in part, “NEC expressed concern at the free-fall of the Naira and the abortive efforts by the Central Bank to arrest this fall.
“NEC noted the harm and pain the massive devaluation and the attendant inflation have wrought on tens of millions of families across the country.
“NEC accordingly resolved to urge the government to take all measures necessary to arrest the recession and turn the economy around-including recovering from multinational oil companies the un-remitted over $20 billion (as reported by NEITI), $7billion bail-out fund given to commercial banks by government with no re-payment reschedule and the billions of Naira similarly given as bail-out to private airlines but with nothing to show for it.
“NEC urged the government to comprehensively reform its budget process as well as put in place a transparent and accountable system in line with the principles of good governance.”
The NLC also asked the federal 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.