In the wake of the National Labour Congress (NLC) strike over increasing hardship and suffering caused by the removal of the subsidy, a growing number of Nigerians are advocating for the rich to pay more taxes to fund relief for the masses.
This crucial discussion came to the forefront during an engaging X Space event hosted by NewsTimes titled “NLC Strike: Demands, Dialogues, and Determination“ on Tuesday evening. One of the speakers, Bolarinwa Durojaiye, stated the need for the rich to pay more tax in order to fund a sustainable transport initiative for the masses.
- Durojaiye said, “There’s no public transportation system globally that doesn’t require subsidies. We need to identify who will pay for it and how. Advanced countries fund public transport by redistributing wealth – taking a bit from those with extra and reinvesting it into the ecosystem.“
- He pointed out that some individuals can contribute more, and buses transporting the masses should not bear toll charges. “The overarching objective is to relieve the hardships faced by millions impacted by challenging economic conditions.”
- Furthermore, he underscored the necessity of creating wealth to support such initiatives. He noted, “To achieve this, we need to create wealth because we cannot redistribute wealth that hasn’t been generated. The capital class is most proficient at wealth creation, but we must also implement regulations to prevent excessive accumulation of wealth.”
In contrast, Samuel (Eco Evangelist) emphasized the importance of government accountability and transparency in handling funds and revenue to make such taxation measures feasible.
- “The government needs to engage the grassroots in understanding the direction of these changes and involve the wealthy in supporting this system, Samuel remarked.
- “To ensure effective distribution of relief, working with NGOs and charities is crucial, as they provide valuable data for planning and goal setting. Transparency in the country’s financial management is essential to ensure that contributions are effectively used for the benefit of the people.”
Discussing the role of the NLC in these matters, Ewoma Vese, another speaker, raised concerns about a significant trust deficit within the union, particularly regarding the perceived ineffectiveness of the ongoing strike that commenced on Tuesday.
- Ewoma Vese stated, “There’s a considerable trust deficit, with many Nigerians perceiving that the union is negotiating primarily for its own interests. Building trust alignment requires substantial efforts.“
Samuel echoed these sentiments by highlighting the need for the labour union to focus on orientation about its values and mission in the broader context of Nigeria’s reality. He emphasized that the NLC should communicate its stance on various issues and how they benefit citizens.
- “Institutions must collaborate to educate the public about ongoing developments,” Samuel said. “The labour union should not only emerge when problems arise but should also address issues such as underemployment and provide clarity about its goals and benefits to the average Nigerian citizen.”
NewsTimes previously reported that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) started a two-day warning strike on Tuesday, September 5. This is in relation to the removal of fuel subsidy. NLC President, Joe Ajaero, announced this during a press conference at Labour House in Abuja last Friday.
In early August, the NLC organized a nationwide protest against what they saw as “anti-poor” policies of the Bola Tinubu administration that were affecting Nigerians.
On May 29th, President Bola Tinubu ended the controversial fuel subsidy, causing fuel prices to spike by over 200% nationwide. This also led to a 97.8% increase in local transportation costs, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Recently, the President formed committees to introduce relief measures, including buying CNG vehicles, providing N75 billion in low-interest loans to manufacturers and MSMEs, allocating N5 billion to states, and distributing grains across all 36 states.