The Federal Government and organised labour have reached an agreement to sort out the implementation of the resolutions they reached on palliatives to cushion the effect of petroleum subsidy removal by August.
Representatives of the government and those of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) adjourned meeting two weeks ago after jointly drawing up seven resolutions and three agreements for the welfare of workers and other Nigerians.
At the resumed meeting yesterday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the two parties, among other things, set up a Presidential Steering Committee to serve as a clearing house in coordinating the technical sub-committees on different items raised.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting, TUC President Festus Osifo and his NLC counterpart, Joe Ajaero, said the parties would reconvene next Monday to review the framework they agreed upon.
Osifo said: “We have concluded our meeting. If you remember very well, the last time that we were here, that TUC and NLC met with government about two weeks ago, we agreed that we were going to reconvene today. That is June 19. We just reconvened. We had a meeting although brief…
“We agreed that anything we are putting together we are going to conclude everything in eight weeks. Everything must be rolled out within that time, not something that we are going to leave endlessly. They have submitted the framework to us. We have looked at it. We have made input. This night, we will continuously work on it in order for us to come up with the deliverables…”
“If you look at the communiqué that was signed in our last meeting, there are some action items in the communiqué. So, it’s actually how these action items will be delivered. For example, we need to have a Presidential Steering Committee that will have to oversee everything.
“We also need to have technical sub-committees, because if we talk about the issue of CNG, we need experts… You need those people that are willing to invest… You need the national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to come up with what they need to do and the time with which they are going to deliver.
“There are some technicalities that are required beyond this meeting. So, those technical committees will be subsumed into presidential committees. But all these we must conclude maximum in eight weeks. So, those technical committees; some will submit their reports in one week. When they submit in one week, we implement; when they submit in two weeks, we will implement. But the last should not exceed eight weeks.
“The terms of reference of these committees are going to be agreed on between today and tomorrow. We are looking at five broad technical committees that will be subsumed into Presidential Steering Committee. There must be timelines in these terms of reference but maximum should not exceed eight weeks. By next week Monday, we will be here again, same time.
Also, the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communication and Strategies, Mr. Dele Alake, said the meeting considered the short term, medium term, and long term measures in resolving the issue with government.
He said: “We reconvened today. Both parties went through this list and we tipped off the viable ones. Those things are broken into three categories. The immediate: those that can be of low hanging fruits in the short-term; the medium-term and the long-term.
“So, those lists of demands in terms of implementation and execution fall into those three broad categories of short, medium and long term categories. So, that’s what we decided today and other meetings will still be held in order to cross the T’s and dot the I’s.
“One group has been constituted at today’s meeting. There is a steering committee that will be like a clearing house. There are other groups set up, comprising both parties, government and labour members, and these groups will work together very harmoniously and efficiently to arrive at the final resolution of all these demands and what we call interventions.”
Present at the meeting were Ajaero, Osifo, the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila Special Adviser for Revenue, Zachaeus Adedeji and the Special Adviser for Energy, Olu Verheijen, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachallom Daju.
Others include the Group Chief Executive Officer, GCEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited NNPCL, Mele Kyari, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, the CEO of Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, among others.