The Federal government embarked on an increase in electricity tariffs from 1st September 2020 and an increase in PMS. However, members of organized labour (NLC, TUC and others) came together to demand a reversal on these increments by the federal government. Consultation meetings between the federal government and labour took place on the 15th, 24th, and 27th of September 2020. They reached an agreement after much deliberation. Below is the breakdown of the agreement between the federal government (FGN) and labour.
Delegation of the Federal Government at the meeting
ELECTRICITY TARIFF ADJUSTMENT
A technical committee on electricity tariff was established and it will be chaired by the honourable minister of state for labour and employment Mr Festus keyamo. The committee is also made up of Federal Ministries, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC)
Duties and Responsibilities
- The committee will examine the justification for the electricity tariff increment
- They will review the deployment of six million meters and advice the federal government on issues hindering the implementation.
Meanwhile, the technical subcommittee is to submit its report within 2 weeks starting from 28th September 2020. While this is going on, the distribution companies (DISCOs) will suspend implementation of the electricity tariff adjustments.
DOWNSTREAM SECTOR DEREGULATION
The existence of a subsidy regime is posing a major challenge to the growth and development of the downstream sector. This has led to a lot of leakages and financial losses in the system. Also, the financial circumstances in the federation has made it impossible to sustain any subsidy on PMS. According to the Federal government, this has made deregulation of the downstream sector inevitable.
- All parties agreed on the urgency of increasing the refining capacity of the nation to reduce over-dependency on importation of petroleum products. This will reduce the cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians.
- They created a validation team. It will monitor the progress of the rehabilitation of the refineries, pipelines and depot networks. The team consists of representatives from NNPC, NEITI, ICRC, NUPENG and PENGASSAN. The team will also advise the steering committee periodically.
- The Federal government will continue to facilitate licensing and delivery of new modular and regular refineries.
- The federal government will ensure delivery of 1 million CNG/LPG Autogas conversion kits, storage skids and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme, by December 2021.
- The Federal government will work to facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.
- The ongoing FG Housing Initiative have 10% available to workers
- The Federal government will make available to labour 133 mass transit buses immediately. These buses will be used in major cities nationwide. Subsequently, they will be present in all states and LGAs before December 2021.
The Federal Government and Labour agreed to suspend the strike. In the meantime, the members of the various subcommittees will get to work. The leaders of the major negotiating parties in the meeting signed the agreement to suspend the strike. We will observe closely to see how this plays out.