The meeting called by the Federal Government and the Trade Union Congress on Sunday, to iron out differences thrown by the sudden removal of fuel subsidy ended on an inconclusive note, as all the stakeholders are to reconvene on Tuesday to continue their deliberations.
However, the Federal Government has hinted that the new administration under Bola Ahmed Tinubu may likely effect some review of the national minimum wage to enable workers to meet current economic realities.
Dele Alake, who gave the government’s position, also hinted that the government was seriously considering tax waivers for Nigerians but was not specific on which category of Nigerians.
He said government stakeholders received the demands made by TUC in good faith and would sit with the President, Bola Tinubu, to consider them one after the other and make compromises where necessary.
The meeting which held at the conference room of the Chief of Staff, lasted for over five hours and had the executive members of the TUC, led by its President, Festus Osifo in attendance.
Those on the government side included the former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress and ex-governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, former commissioner for information and strategy in Lagos State, Dele Alake, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, Senator James Falake, among others in attendance.
The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress was conspicuously absent at the meeting and no reason was given for their absence.
Alake said, “As you all know, we had this reconvened meeting today as we promised you a few days ago when we had the initial meeting with the Labour movement.
“We said we were going to reconvene today to keep the engagement on in order to diffuse the tension in the land as a result of the withdrawal of subsidy, which is a reality.
“Now, we are very happy to announce to Nigerians that this engagement has been very productive. The TUC that attended today’s meeting presented a list of demands and those demands we have studied and we are going to present to Mr President, for his consideration. But those demands, we can announce to Nigerians that a lot of the items on the list, are not impracticable.
“What we need to do is study the numbers very well. Then, we have asked the TUC to also give us a leeway to consult very exhaustively and reconvene on Tuesday to actually look at the numbers, viability, practicability of all the items that have been presented to us.
“Now, the most important and top priority on the list, which the government is also looking at very seriously and the President has announced before, is the issue of the minimum wage, which the labour movement has demanded, and the consequential impact of this removal of subsidy.