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Labour Unions Suspend Strike As FG Halts Electricity Tariff Hike



Chris Ngige

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended the planned nationwide strike scheduled for today Monday.

The decision to suspend the mass action was announced by Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, after an agreement was reached between the Federal Government and the labour unions in a meeting in the early hours of Monday.

Part of the agreement reached, according to communique read by the Minister, was that a technical committee comprising labour leaders, government agencies and ministries will in two weeks look into issues concerning the recent electricity tariff hike so as to validate ”the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout”.

“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments,” the communique reads.

“An all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MoU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented.

“All parties agreed on the urgency for increasing the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the overdependency on importation of petroleum products to ensure energy security, reduce cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians.”

It was also agreed in the meeting between the government and the labour unions that the nation’s refineries will be rehabilitated to reduce the cost of fuel.

“To ensure commitment and transparency to the processes and timelines of the rehabilitation exercise, the management of NNPC has offered to integrate the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association into the steering committee already established by the corporation,” the communique further reads.

“The Federal Government will facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing framework for financing in the downstream sector.

“NNPC to expedite work on the Build, Operate and Transfer framework for the nation’s pipelines and strategic depots network for efficient transportation and distribution of petroleum products to match the delivery timelines of the refineries as agreed.”

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