The Federal Government said it created 1.8 million jobs annually, as issues of unemployment, insecurity, devaluation of the naira, poor power supply, among other things that dominated discussions at the 11th Quadrennial delegates conference of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which commenced yesterday in Abuja.
The supervising minister for Labour, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, who spoke at the conference said that the federal government had created 1.8 million jobs annually and records show this.
“Even if you hate our government, the records are there,” he said.
NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar, however noted that workers are usually the ones bearing the brunt of changes in government policies or its inefficiencies. He noted that workers were the first victims of the devaluation of the Naira, “not just that the value wages went down, prices have gone up.” He also lamented that of over 20,000 victims of the insurgency in north east Nigeria, “60% are workers”, apart from the growing number of widows and orphans that had been created.
Meanwhile, the country’s major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), used the occasion to woo workers to vote for their parties in the coming elections, promising to ensure better lives for the working class.
In a message to the conference, President Goodluck Jonathan, said his government had been addressing the issue of insecurity in the country, promising that “Very soon the issue of Boko Haram will be a thing of the past.”
President Jonathan, who spoke through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, assured that “the 2015 general election will be better than the 2011 election” which he said was adjudged free, Fair and credible.
On his part, the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) lamented that about $32.88 billions had been budgeted for defence in the last five years, yet security situation in the country was alarming.
According to him, what Nigeria needed was “a group of competent leaders that have the capacity to solve the problems and APC is the answer.”
In his own message, a former president of the NLC and Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, warned of a bleak future for workers pension as a result of the devaluation of the Naira.
“You save in good currency and you are paid back in worthless currency,” he lamented.
Ahead of the general elections, Oshiomole urged the NLC to “be loud and clear on issues.”
He recalled that two weeks ago, the Service Chiefs told the nation that they were ready for election, but suddenly they said they were no longer ready.
According to him, “What did they see now that they did not see then. We cannot accept a situation where Service Chiefs will dictate when we are to have elections.”
The governor, who recalled that in the past, government policies were designed to create job opportunities, said, “It if there is no power, we cannot create jobs in this economy.”
The Governor lamented that Governments had failed to build new refineries and repair existing ones, noting that this could have created job opportunities.