01 October 2015, Abuja – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately begin to think about creative economic measures that would save Nigeria from a possible economic recession in 2016.
Parts of where the NLC listed that it would want the government to concentrate its efforts to get the economy back on track included: agriculture, solid minerals, textiles and taxation on luxury goods.
The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, in an independence message to Nigerians, noted that the Nigerian economy had been rumoured to be going through tough periods that could lead to its collapse early in 2016.
He thus called on Buhari to move swiftly against the materialisation of the predictions with smart measures.
Wabba in a statement in Abuja, explained that the recent performance of the country’s economy was not impressive, hence its call for proactive measures to get it back on track.
Wabba who lamented that the post-1960 independence economy of Nigeria held more promises than it has today, called on the government to consider a partnership with the organised private sector to re-grow the fortunes of the economy.
He explained that the government alone cannot rebuild the economy and would need the support of the private sector.
“The performance of the economy at any point in time is of great concern to labour. In the months preceding the 2015 general elections, the performance nose dived largely due to a number of reasons including dwindling oil sales in the international market, fiscal indiscipline, corruption, rising cost of governance and unhelpful macro-economic policies.
“However, the general elections, arguably was the trigger, as the economy cascaded to its lowest ebb immediately after the elections, in recent years,” Wabba said.
He further noted: “Funding the 2015 budget was difficult, government borrowed to pay salaries. Even then not all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were paid.
“Save two or three states, the rest were unable to pay salaries or pensions leading to a backlog of up to six months or more. The naira was massively devalued while inflation rose. Practically, everything came to a halt. There were clear signs of restiveness in the polity.
“It was therefore not surprising that one of the first things President Muhammadu Buhari did (after been sworn in), was to create an intervention fund through the instrumentality of the council of State to enable the states pay up backlogs of salaries and pension arrears. There have been other interventions that have considerably eased tension in the polity.”
He, however, explained that despite the measures introduced by the government, the economy has still to pick up, adding then that creative measures should swiftly be introduced by the government.
“As part of the process of mitigating the negative impact on the people, government introduced a number of policies to shore up the naira and grow the economy, including the operation of Treasury Single Account (TSA), identification of items not to be funded with forex sourced from the Central Bank, limits on fund transfers or withdrawals in foreign currencies, suspension of payment of dollar deposits into domiciliary accounts, and implementation of the new auto-policy.
“In spite of the government’s interventions, the economy is not yet out of the woods. The naira is still considerably weak against the major currencies of the world making the cost of living to rise sharply since we are an import-dependent nation, inflation is not abating, oil prices keep on falling etc. Indeed, there are strong speculations that the economy might run into a recession next year for reasons not unconnected with sluggish growth in two consecutive quarters,” Wabba said.
- This Day