LCCI, NECA, PENGASSAN Demand PIB Passage, Stimulus Packages
Ahead of this year’s Workers’ Day, popularly known as May Day, frontline organisations in the organised private sector have called on the Federal Government to support the sector with stimulus packages.
The organisations include the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association.
They said the stimulus packages were necessary to forestall job losses and ensure business continuity even after the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has called on the government to stop all manner of precarious work in the oil and gas sector ranging from casualisation to outsourcing of jobs.
According to the union, the most precious gift the oil workers require from the Federal Government with respect to the peculiarities of the industry is the complete passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
The representatives of these bodies spoke to our correspondent in separate interviews on Monday.
The Director-General, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf, noted that as the workers marked this year’s Workers Day, government should be concerned about business sustainability in the informal sector.
He argued that since the informal sector provided employment to a large number of the citizens, it must not be allowed to go under.
Yusuf advocated stimulus packages such as duty waivers, concessions in the areas of restructuring, refinancing and moratorium, among others.
He said, “What is paramount at a time like this as the workers mark the Workers Day is for government to support the private sector to ensure retention of jobs.
“Economic stimulus should be impactful to avoid the laying off of workers.
“Already, we have seen a few of such palliatives. But the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria needs to do much more.
“There are issues around investors’ indebtedness to commercial banks, for instance. This is in trillions of naira. There should be some concessions in the area of restructuring, refinancing and moratorium.
“There should be tax concessions. There should be import duty reductions and waivers for targeted sectors. These are some of the expectations from the private sector which will preserve jobs.”
The Director-General of NECA, Dr Timothy Olawale, saluted the courage of workers in the health sector for their roles in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
He said COVID-19 had affected every aspect of the country due to lockdown directive of the government that had led to disruption of businesses in the informal sector.
Olawale said NECA would appreciate all necessary assistance and support from government towards the growth and survival of businesses in the country, especially in the informal sector.
He said, “This sector has the largest number of entrepreneurs who create employment for Nigerians, aid the operations of the formal sector through the various value chains, ensure that youths are engaged and not involved in crime or social vices.
“NECA calls for a more coordinated strategy in salvaging jobs and enterprises in the wake of possible job losses. If businesses do not survive the effect of COVID-19 within the shortest period, it could result in massive job loss in the country.
“Government should take decisive action on stimulus package and support businesses.
“Government should take decisive action on concerns of the informal sector and ensure intervention in areas such as regular and adequate power/electricity supply, access to loans and funds for their business operations and creation of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”
PENGASSAN, who spoke through its National Public Relations Officer, Mr Fortune Obi, said the greatest gift oil workers required from the Federal Government was the complete passage of the PIB.
It also demanded the complete implementation of the Nigeria LNG model for the nation’s refineries.