Following the current foreign exchange squeeze being experienced in the country, organised labour, under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria ((ASCSN), has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to give supply priority to manufacturers in order to boost production and the economy.
Making a case for the group and others that genuinely need forex under the current dispensation, the National President, ASCSN, Comrade (Dr.) Tommy Etim Okon, decried the free fall of the naira against major international cureencies.
Okon, who spoke yesterday during the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos, said although the association was not against the policies of the Federal Government as regards stabilising the naira, it was, however, important to ensure forex availability to genuine manufacturers in order to enable them improve and stimulate the economy.
He said considering the fact that the informal sector drives the economy, it was of utmost importance for them to have access to foreign exchange.
In a communique jointly signed by the president and the Secretary-General, ASCSN, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, issued at the end of the meeting, the NEC-in-session acknowledged the cost of living, which has brought untold hardship to millions of citizens.
The union, therefore, enjoines the government to take necessary measures to improve its monetary and fiscal policies to shore up the naira and check the consistent downward slide if the currency. The association also flayed the non-payment of gratuity to public service employees.
According to the communique, “the NEC-in-seasion regretted that since the enactment of the Pension Reform Act 2004, the government has stopped paying gratuity to public service employees even though the Act did not abolish payment of gratuity, which is still in item 44 of the Second Schedule on the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and as such remains an inseparable component of laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The NEC, accordingly, lent its voice to the call by the national leadership of the association on President Muhammadu Buhari as father to all Nigerians to, without any further delay, direct the restoration of payment of gratuity to public service employees in the interest of justice, equity and fairness.”
On insecurity, the association noted with dismay that the escalating incidences of violence had created a spectre of fear among the citizens. It, accordingly, urged the Federal Government to rejig the security architecture in the country and reposition it to meet the aspirations of the citizens so that they could go about their daily activities without fear or hindrance.
While commending the national leadership of the association for all the actions taken to strengthen the union to enable it continue the pursuit of members’ welfare, it also endorsed the decision it had taken in recent times to ensure that those, who wanted to derail the union were shown the way out.
Subsequently, it ratified the decisions of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the association to expel Bola Audu Innocent from the association in line with Rule 13(vi) of the union’s constitution.
“The NEC also ratified the recommendation of the CWC making Comrade Okon the substantive National President of the association; and Comrade Lawal the Secretary-General till December 2022.”