Subsidy: Tinubu gets June ultimatum to make minimum wage N200,000; TUC demands tax holiday for workers
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has released demands it made at the meeting held with President Bola Tinubu’s government on Sunday over the recent fuel subsidy removal. Mr Tinubu’s government has been given less than 25 days to increase the N30,000 minimum wage to N200,000. The government is also expected to grant workers a tax holiday.
In a statement signed by TUC president Festus Osifo and general secretary Nuhu Toro on Monday, the union called for the immediate implementation of the demands.
It highlighted 14 demands for immediate implementation and five for the medium term. The demands include maintaining the status quo ante of petrol pump price while the discussion continued.
“Minimum wage should be increased from the current N30,000 to N200,000 before the end of June 2023, with consequential adjustment on the cost of feeding allowance, like feeding, transport, housing, among others,” stated TUC. “A representative of state governors will be party to this communique, and all the governors must commit to implementing the new minimum wage.”
It added, “Tax holiday for employees both in government and private sector that earn less than N200,000 or $500 monthly whichever is higher. PMS allowance to be introduced for those earning between N200,000 to N500,000 or $500 to $1,200, whichever is higher.”
Others include setting up an intervention fund where the government will pay N10 per litre on all locally consumed petrol. According to the TUC, the primary purpose of this fund is to solve perennial and protracted national issues in education, health and housing.
“A governance structure that will include labour, civil society, and the government will be put in place to manage the implementation. The federal government should provide mass transit vehicles for all categories of the populace,” TUC explained, urging state governments to “immediately set up a subsidised transportation system to reduce the pressure on workers and students: the framework around this will be worked out.”
The union also called for an “immediate review of the National Health Insurance Scheme to cover more Nigerians and prevent out-of-stock (sic) of drugs.”
In the medium term, the union called for the deployment of compressed natural gas across the country in line with the earlier promise made by the government, stating that both parties would develop and agree on the framework and timeline.
TUC also called on labour and government to design a framework geared toward reducing the cost of governance by 15 per cent in 2024 and 30 per cent by 2025.
“A framework should be immediately put in place to maintain the road and expand the rail networks across the country. Government must design a framework for social housing policy for workers through the rent-to-own system,” TUC recommended.
It added that the state of electricity in Nigeria “must be appraised, and an action plan should be defined with timelines on how to get this fixed,” pointing out that a “strong monitoring team comprising all parties will be constituted.”