The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have criticized President Bola Tinubu’s proposed N500 billion palliative in response to the fuel subsidy removal. They argue that the amount is grossly inadequate to alleviate the hardships faced by workers. The labor unions are demanding a 300% salary increase to help workers cope with the economic challenges resulting from the subsidy removal.
President Tinubu sent a letter to the House of Representatives seeking approval for the N500 billion palliative. In the letter, he proposed an amendment to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act to allocate the funds. He emphasized the need to provide palliatives to mitigate the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
The NLC criticized the amount, stating that it would not be enough to support the estimated 125 million Nigerians living in poverty. The union’s National Treasurer, Hakeem Ambali, expressed skepticism about the extent of coverage the palliative would provide. The NLC called for a 300% minimum wage increase, the establishment of modular refineries, economic stimulus loans for small and medium enterprises, social benefits for the elderly and unemployed youth, agricultural loans, alternative energy investments, refinery repairs, and other measures.
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) welcomed the idea of palliatives but questioned the specifics of how the N500 billion would be spent. They emphasized the need for more information about the scope of the palliative measures and urged transparency in the distribution process. The chambers also noted that the proposed amount would be insufficient to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal and the devaluation of the Nigerian currency.
President Tinubu assured Nigerians that the framework for the palliatives was being developed and that the decision to phase out the subsidy was made in the best interest of the country’s future prosperity. He acknowledged the challenges faced by the people and promised that the palliatives would be implemented. He also emphasized the importance of national unity and cooperation in building a stronger country.
Overall, there are differing opinions on the proposed N500 billion palliative. Labor unions argue that it is inadequate and call for a significant salary increase, while business chambers emphasize the need for transparency and a broader scope of support. President Tinubu maintains that the subsidy removal is necessary for the country’s progress and assures Nigerians that palliative measures will be implemented.