Ahuge transport boost to alleviate the petrol subsidy pain was unveiled last night.
It is a major highlight in the agreements reached between the Federal Government and Labour, which effectively halted the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) strike plan.
The decision on transportation also include provision of 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kick-start an auto gas conversion programme, pending the completion of ongoing work on the state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide.
The government plans to roll-out next month with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide.
The agreements were reached at the rescheduled parley at the State House in Abuja last night.
The full agreements were contained in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Bako Lalong; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mallam Mohammed Idris.
NLC and TUC Presidents – Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo, with the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja and his TUC counterpart, Nuhu A. Toro signed for Labour.
At the end of the meeting, the Labour centres agreed to suspend for 30 days, the planned indefinite strike scheduled to begin today.
The Labour announced the suspension after six hours of intense negotiation with the Federal Government.
It was after a decision had been reached by both parties to extend the implementation of the N35,000 provisional wage increment for all federal workers till a new minimum wage is agreed, suspension of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel for six months starting from October.
The parley started in parts from about 5pm. The government representatives, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, held series of briefings, separate consultations with leaders of the represented Labour bodies.
After a harmonized meeting, which ended at about 10:50pm, the two sides presented a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Reading out the details of the MoU, Lalong, said: “Arising from the withdrawal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the Federal Government and the resultant increase in the price of the commodity, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a strike notice which had elapsed and they were poised to embark on a strike billed to commence on Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.
“Consequently, a meeting was called by the Federal Government to avert the strike and after much discussion, the following agreements were reached:
”The Federal Government grants a wage award of N35,000 (thirty-five thousand Naira) only to all Federal Government workers beginning from the month of September pending when a new national minimum wage is expected to have been signed into law.
“A minimum wage committee shall be inaugurated within one month from the date of this agreement.
“Federal Government suspends collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023.
“Federal Government accepts to vote N100 billion for the provision of high capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria. Provisions are also being made for initial 55,000 CNG conversion kits to kick start an auto gas conversion programme, whilst work is ongoing on state-of-the-art CNG stations nationwide. The rollout aims to commence by November with pilots across 10 campuses nationwide.
”The Federal Government plans to implement various tax incentive measures for private sector and the general public.
“On the leadership crises rocking the NURTW and the purported proscription of RTEAN, the Federal Government commits to handling Labour matters in line with relevant ILO Conventions and Nigerian Labour Acts. A resolution of the ongoing impasse is expected by or before October 13.
“The issue of outstanding Salaries and Wages of Tertiary Education workers in Federal-owned educational institutions is being referred to Ministry of Labour and Employment for further engagement.
“The Federal Government commits to pay N25,000 per month for three months starting from October, 2023 to 15 million households, including vulnerable pensioners.
“The Federal Government will increase its initiatives on subsidised distribution of fertilizers to farmers across the country.
“The Federal Government should urge State Government through the National Economic Council (NEC) and Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to implement wage award for their workers. Similar consideration should also be given to local government and private sector workers.
“The Federal Government commits to the provision of funds as announced by the President on the 1st of August broadcast to the Nation for Micro and Small Scale Enterprises. The MSMEs beneficiaries should commit to the principle of decent jobs.
“A joint visitation will be made to the refineries to ascertain their rehabilitation status. All parties commit to henceforth abide by the dictates of Social dialogue in all our future engagements.
“The NLC and TUC accept to suspend for 30 days the planned Indefinite Nationwide strike scheduled to begin, Tuesday, the 3rd of October, 2023.
“This Memorandum shall be filed with the relevant Court of competent jurisdiction within one (1) week as consent judgment by the Federal Government.”
Ajaero said that if the agreements are not implemented, the strike issue would be revisited.
Asked if the agreements apply to the states, Ajaero said the fuel subsidy removal that propelled Labour’s action affects all Nigerians, including those in the states and the private sector.
He observed that some states had already commenced the attempt at alleviating the effects of the subsidy removal by introducing varying palliatives measures.