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April 14, 2024

‘Allow Importation to Crash Food Prices’, TUC Tells FG   

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to initiate food importation within two weeks to address the surging food prices nationwide.

President of TUC, Festus Osifo, revealed this during a press conference in Abuja on Monday, highlighting the economic challenges affecting the country.

Following President Bola Tinubu’s removal of the fuel subsidy on May 29 Inauguration Day, Nigeria has experienced a rise in the cost of living, pushing inflation to unprecedented levels.

Osifo, speaking just before the NLC’s two-day nationwide protest, emphasized that the current level of hardship surpasses what Nigerians have seen, even during military regimes. He attributed the problems to the government’s inadequate support for locally made products, a lack of capable leadership, and poor patronage of services.

TUC initially supported the Nigeria Labour Congress’ (NLC) declared two-day nationwide protest against the country’s high cost of living, inflation, insecurity, and hardship. However, the Vice-President of TUC, Tommy Etim, revealed on Wednesday that the decision to protest on February 27 and 28 was not collectively agreed upon by both unions.

In a letter dated February 19, 2024, and written by TUC’s Secretary General, Dr. Nuhu Toro, it was stated that the NLC unilaterally made the decision regarding the planned protest, leading to TUC withdrawing its support.

Meanwhile, Osifo said, “Nigerians must live to see tomorrow before we can understand how beautiful a government policy is. The national pride of striving to achieve food sufficiency locally should be temporarily relaxed. Governments at all levels should immediately purchase sufficient quantities of food items from different parts of the world and share them with vulnerable Nigerians.

“Importing food abroad at this point will assist to reduce the hyper-inflation of food in the country. FG should allow importation of food items for Nigerians consumption within the next two weeks,” he added.

The TUC president advised Tinubu to as a matter of urgency strengthen the economic management team of his administration and also look beyond party or tribal lines to headhunt the best Nigerians throughout the world who could sit down and develop homegrown solutions to the hardship menace.

He further called for the passage and implementation of a new minimum wage law that reflects the current economic realities.

“The Federal Government’s economic team should work towards a more realistic rate of the naira to dollar, which they pegged between N500 and N800 to the dollar.

“There should also be a clamp down on currency speculators, especially those online, who have made remittances from abroad drop.”

The TUC leadership, however, called for the rolling out of petroleum products by the Port Harcourt Refinery by the end of Q1 2024 to reduce the high cost of Petroleum Motor Spirit nationwide.

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