The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday in Abuja advised the Federal Government to levy special tax on the importation of luxury items.
In a goodwill message on the occasion of Nigeria’s 55th independence anniversary, NLC President Ayuba Wabba said that the special tax would further eliminate corruption in the importation of refined petroleum products, among others.
“We propose a strategy that ensures a balance between the productive and social sectors with a focus on economic diversificationcum-quality and robust housing programmes
“We urge the government to put in place a response strategy that is capable of mitigating the after-shocks as well as ensuring a robust recovery.”
On the economy, which he said was still in the woods, Wabba said:”We urge the government to do a re-think on how to fix the economy through robust macro-economic, civil, accountable and people-oriented policies that are capable of addressing our dependency syndrome.”
He noted that besides, security, unemployment another major challenge faced by Nigeria, adding that the need for sustainable mass job creation is not only necessary but urgent.
“We do believe that one of the surest ways of creating jobs on a sustainable basis for this teeming workforce is to ensure a return to an industrialized economy.”
The NLC President said that diversification and collaboration with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) would be critical to economic recovery and job creation.
He called for partnership between the government and the private sector to explore the rich solid mineral sector.
Wabba further underscored the need for good legislations, policies, programmes and incentives on agriculture, to ensure increased local production of staple food items such as rice, fish, and poultry products.
He said the same policies should be applied to the production of plant crops such as cocoa, cotton and rubber, among others.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill, Wabba said that if the bill was passed, it would unleash the potential in the sector.
“However, we must make bold to say that varying interests in the polity scuttled the passage of the bill, with some arguing that there are over a dozen versions of this bill in circulation.
“We urge the government to revisit this bill and implement the version that best serves Nigeria’s national interest.”
He commended government’s regional/ national strategy and tactical operations for rooting out the Boko Haram insurgents, saying that it had yielded considerable results.
He also commended Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai for leading his troops personally from the front.
“We commend the commanders, troops, local JTF for their gallantry and the local communities for their resilience despite the relentless onslaught from the Boko Haram.”
He also condemned the attitude of states that default in the regular payment of salaries and pensions.
“If any state defaults, they will face the wrath of the workers. Salaries and pensions are inalienable rights of workers and retirees and not privileges.
“We also call for pension reforms at state and local government levels, to enhance the security of pension funds and regular payments,” he said.