The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the Technical Committee constituted to look into Labour’s grievances arising from the increase in the pump price of Prime Motor Spirit (PMS) .But some labour leaders are uncomfortable with government’s focus on the N500 billion as it may not cover a substantial number of Nigerians.Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige after the inaugural meeting of the committee at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) said the committee had been commissioned to look into three key areas.The organised labour had before embarking on its recent strike faulted the federal government’s rational for fuel increase to N145 per litre when the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was not in place, calling for an immediate reconstitution.
NLC had also requested the federal government to include labour stakeholders in the N500billion palliative measures it hoped to use to cushion the effect of the fuel increase. It also demanded for a review of the minimum wage.
President Muhammadu Buhari had subsequently approved the appointment of Mohammed Buba as the Chairman of Board of PPPRA.A 16 man committee had also been set up .The three terms of reference for the committee include looking into a framework of a national committee that will discuss the issue of the minimum wage: Look into the suggestions of all parties which include government and the organised labour centers on the suggestion of how they can give amelioration to workers and Nigerians in general to cushion the effect of price hike as a result of increase in fuel pump price. Government has already provided N500billion in the 2016 budget as palliatives and this will be subjected to a review by the committee.Another term of reference is the recommendation of the composition of the board of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA).The Committee’s membership also comprises of the Minister of State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of National Salaries and Wages Commission, R.O Egbule and the representative of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
Representatives from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) includes Peter Adeyemi, Amaechi Asugwuni, Ibrahim Khaleel, Igwe Achese and Abdullahi Sale.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has Augustine Etafo, Alade Bashir Lawal and Abdullahi Sale as its representatives in the Committee.A labour leader who spoke to our correspondent after the briefing by the Minister of Labour said government has to look past the N500billion as the sharing formula has already been completed.“Government should think of other palliatives” he said adding that this would be the crux of the matter when next the committee meets.
Chris Steven, Abuja