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"Economy Has Stopped Working"- Labour Tells Buhari



The organised labour on Sunday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use the opportunity of the planned economic conference to come up with policies that could be implemented to get the country out of its current economic woes.
The two labour centres in the country– the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress – said the economy had stopped functioning.
NLC and TUC believed that the state of the economy had not been as bad as the prevailing scenario since the civil war.
The organised labour demanded quick solutions to the current economic challenges.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, and the President of the TUC, Mr. Bala Kaigama, said in separate interviews with the PUNCH on Sunday that the organised Labour was not invited to the crucial economic retreat.
Ozo-Eson said on the telephone that the organised labour and indeed the country were waiting on the government to come up with urgent policies to stimulate the various sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and solid minerals.
He said the expected economic policies should focus on how to transform solid minerals in the country to finished products in order to avoid a repeat of the situation where crude oil was sold without any further step to convert it to finished product.
Ozo-Esan added, “We are not invited to the summit. So, if they are having their summit, we know they should be able to articulate positions, to discuss how to get this economy functioning because right now, it is actually not functioning. And there is a need to kick-start the economy.
“So it is their own, it is a government summit. We await the outcome but what is crucial is that this moment, a quick decision needs to be taken, and policies put in place to make this economy functioning again.
“We await what policies they will articulate in terms of manufacturing, in terms of agriculture, in terms of solid minerals but not just solid minerals, even a long term plan for it so that solid minerals will not also have the same problem that oil has.
“A programme that transforms the minerals into finished products is what will add value to the economy.”
Kaigama added that the economic conference was important because the country was in dire need of economic policies to address the decline in the economy.
The TUC president believed the nation’s economy had not been this bad except during the civil war, calling on the government to come up with policies to remedy the “frightening” situation.
He added, “We encourage them to come up with the economic summit even though we are not part of it, we have not been invited. Nigeria needs a very proactive economic policy now that will address the woes of the economy.
“We are in the worst in terms of economic experiences. We are not in good terms in terms of our economy at all. It had never been this bad except during the civil war. So we hope that the government would take steps to remedy the situation.”
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