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TUC Kicks Against Government Devaluation Of Naira ….We Will Resist If….

Annie Brown


The Trade Union Congress Chairman in Rivers State (TUC) Comrade Chika Onuegbu, has stated that the alleged plan and decision of the Federal Government to devalue the naira because of the N18,000 minimum wage would not go down well with the state governments.

State government, he said, would feel the pinch more than the workers, as about 60% of the state governments’ budgets are capital-oriented.

Comrade Onuegbu who stated this in a release issued inPort Harcourt, said prices of the capital projects would surely jump up astronomically due to devaluation.

“InRiversStatefor instance, many of the on-going projects are going to be renegotiated, as contractors would ask for variation due to devaluation induced inflation,” he added.

Onuegbu said it would be painful for the states and companies that borrowed money in foreign currency as they will have severe difficulties in repaying the loans.

He said that the country does not produce anything except crude oil and natural gas, it imports virtually everything and so the devaluation would simultaneously increase inflation and lending rates.

The government, he said would only achieve money illusion and momentary loss of real wage for workers and their unions would commence another attendant industrial unrest across all sectors of the economy.

In a chat with this reporter, the TUC chairman said TUC would resist if the proposed removal of subsidy was to enable the government share the proceeds across the three tiers of government.

He said the Rivers State Council of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) was not 100% percent against deregulation provided it was not import driven.

“The council wants the government to come up with specifics on the purported removal of petroleum susidy; the government should ensure that the local refining capacity is increased in the next five years”, he said.

The chairman said there would be no problem, if the country can refine 100% of its local requirements of the refined petroleum products.

Comrade Onuegbu said government should engage all the stakeholders in the Nigerian project and demonstrate clearly how it intended to use the proceed from the removal.

He said Nigerians have the right to know how the decision would reduce poverty, unemployment and sufficient of the masse.

“They should also demonstrate how they want to go about growing local refining capacity of the petroleum products and more,” the chairman added.

He emphasized that answers to the above questions would inform them on whether to support the policy or not.

Onuegbu said answers to the questions are necessary because the Nigerian state has not demonstrated the capacity to implement reforms that would be of immense benefit to the suffering masses. ###

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