Labour leaders in the country on Monday lamented the pains inflicted on Nigerian Workers by the present economic challenges occasioned by fuel subsidy removal and inflation.
They said the cost of transportation has skyrocketed while food prices have soared astronomically.
The labour leaders who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 28th annual National Management/Industrial Relations Seminar, however, acknowledged the efforts by the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on the workers.
The 3-day Seminar themed “Creative and Innovative Strategies To Manage Worker’s Expectations and Reality In a Challenging Economy” is held between Monday and Wednesday this week.
The National President of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, which organised the seminar, Comrade Segun David, said that “the take-home of every worker cannot take them to the company gate”.
While admitting that the government of President Bola Tinubu is new, David however, called on the government to do more to improve the welfare of the Nigerian workers in the face of the challenging situation.
The union leader, who advised Nigerian workers on the need to strategise on how to manage expectations in the face of dwindling incomes and understand the reality on the ground, said, “Employers are struggling to adapt to the unfavourable policies of the government, especially, the fuel subsidy removal, adding that the cost and ease of doing business in the country are getting unbearable by the day.”
He added, “As at the last count, a dollar is above a thousand naira. Manufacturing industries depend solely on forex to survive, and the fluidity in the forex market is yet to yield any positive result, rather things are getting worse.
“Nigeria depends on importation to survive the high exchange rate in Nigeria, as of September 2023 reached an 18-year high of 26.7%. The removal of fuel subsidies is attributed also to the high inflation rate. Prices of food jumped to 30.6% high, transportation 27.2%, housing and utilities 22.5% and miscellaneous goods and services rose to 21.9% high respectively.
“There are no essentials of life that have not been touched; food, housing, transport, electricity, clothing, maintenance, education, health, recreation, and communications.
“Based on the analysis above, we need to strategise on how we can manage our expectations in the face of dwindling incomes and understand the reality on the ground,” he said.
The national president of the National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, Babatunde Olatunji listed challenges facing the Nigerian workers as, “fuel subsidy removal, hike in electricity tariffs, high inflation that is affecting standard of living, insufficient infrastructure, epileptic power supply, multiple taxation on companies, insecurity, among others.
“Nigerians are lamenting over the subsidy removal which has taken a toll on the lives of Nigerians. For instance, from pepper sellers, and pepper grinders to vehicle owners who no longer use their vehicles due to the high cost of fuel, including the high electricity tariffs.
“All these factors affect workers and as such government must do something about this. Looking at security issues, yet no solution in sight. So, our political leaders should think of the after-effects of this to save the country from going down.”