By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has urged the federal government to carry out a proper auditing of how the first tranche of Paris Club fund given to states was spent.
NLC position followed allegations making headlines in most national dailies and social media that some states have mismanaged the fund to the tune of over N19 billion while still owing salaries, pensions and gratuities of their workers.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC President during the 4th quadrennial national delegates’ conference of Maritime Workers Union in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state said the call became necessary before next batch of the fund is released besides showing accountability in governance.
According to Wabba, It is disturbing to hear that most state governors who received the first chunk of fund have mismanaged the fund contrary to federal directives that 20 to 25 percent of the refund should be used to clear these outstanding salaries, pensions and gratuities owed to workers in the various states.
Wabba threatened that labour would soon begin aggressive agitation to attract the federal government attention to the fact that, corruption must be fought at all levels including the states.
“What NLC is saying that let the government musters the will to make sure that the first chunk that was released to states is accounted for, because there were controversies that N19 billion was diverted by the governor’s forum.
“Outside the goodwill to make this fund available, the issue of transparency and accountability in governance which is lacking in some states, must be pursued, government must be proactive to ensure that government at the centre is able to be on top of the situation and demand for accountability.
“We are going to start our agitation very seriously and rigorously to the fact that, if you are fighting corruption, it must be at all levels, it must scale down to the states, they must continue to see workers as partners in progress, as people that create wealth and not liabilities; and therefore workers right must be given priority, if not we won’t have social stability, cohesion and we will not go out of recession”, Wabba stated.
He also maintained that, the recession being experienced in the country, is man-made adding that, it would take a focused leader to put things correct as according to him, the country’s economy was mismanaged by past government.
“If the economy was mismanaged by people, it will also take the people to reverse it and put the economy back on track; you will not expect God in heaven to come to correct what we have done. It will take good leaders with focus, transparency and accountability to be able to address the situation”, the NLC President added.
He however called on the federal government to urgently review the current national minimum wage for workers in the country to enable workers live a decent life and ensure stability in the system.
According to him, the current economic recession is having serious negative effects on the well being of workers as many homes find it difficult to survive the tide.