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It’s time for Labour to support Tinubu – Minister   

The Minister for Labour and Employment, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, has said that the Federal Government has achieved about 90% of the agreement it had with the…

The Minister for Labour and Employment, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, has said that the Federal Government has achieved about 90% of the agreement it had with the organised labour last October, and that it’s time for the labour to support the government.

Speaking during a chat on Channels Television, Onyejeocha said the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (TUC), Joe Ajaero, told government representatives at a meeting on Sunday that the protest was not about the government’s commitment to the October agreement but food inflation.

The minister said food security and economic prosperity were part of the priorities of the President Bola Tinubu administration.

She appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the new government, saying the administration is in its planting season with harvest on the horizon.

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Onyejeocha said the Federal Government had ticked about 90% of the 15-point memorandum of understanding it signed with the organised labour on October 2, 2023.

Some of the agreements include granting wage award of N35,000 to workers, inauguration of minimum wage committee, and suspension of the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six.

She said, “I can say that we have achieved almost 90 per cent of our agreement with Labour. And of course, I know that people are hungry. But the federal government is doing everything possible in tackling it. We met with the minister of agriculture yesterday and briefed them on way forward.

“So I believe that Labour is just being Labour. They have to show that they are in solidarity with Nigerians, they have to show empathy. But I’m saying this again that we are in very precarious times. Everybody at this time needs to show patriotism. Everybody needs to be on the same page with the government, including Labour.

“The president has said that this times without number that he’s with Nigerians, and that’s why under the ministry of labour and employment, we have embarked on an employment empowerment where we are going to give 2.5 million jobs to Nigerians in one year.”

Nigeria is battling rising inflation, food inflation, forex crisis, economic hardship and high cost of living occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, attracting protests in parts of the country.

The Presidency had engaged labour leaders in a last-minute talks on Monday night but the meeting ended in a stalemate as the NLC insisted that the protest was going to hold.

Though the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said it was not part of the strike, the NLC protested across the country on Tuesday, with labour leader Ajaero, saying that the protest was about hunger and not just a clamour for a review of the minimum wage.

Labour later suspended the protest on Tuesday night, after day one of the demonstration, saying the objectives of the two-day protest had been achieved on the first day of the rally.

On the provision of high capacity CNG buses for mass transit in Nigeria, the minister said funds had been released for the purpose but “there are certain things you cannot control; you cannot control the number of days a shipment or a container will stay in the port.”

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