MSA OPPOSES THE DISENGAGEMENT OF BATCHES “A” AND “B” NPOWER-WORKERS
We call for the absorption of all disengaged Npower workers into the public service
We demand a monthly stipend for all school leavers and unemployment allowance for all graduates.
The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA) strongly condemns the disengagement of all the 500, 000 members of the Batches “A” and “B” of the Federal Government’s N-power scheme. This singular act makes a mockery of every discordant promise President Buhari’s administration has made concerning job creation and lowering of Nigeria’s soaring unemployment figure affecting 36.50% of Nigerian youth population and about 30 million in the general population (based on the 2018 and most recent data provided by the NBS).
This decision if not reversed will send 500, 000 Nigerian all-youth Npower workers to economic uncertainties, at about the time Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on the purchasing power of the average Nigerian. This act shows the contradictory nature of Nigeria’s capitalism, which creates more problems in the name of solving them. The MSA in clear terms condemns the Buhari’s government for carrying out this insensitive action.
The Nigerian government, through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq bore witness to the ocean of unemployment in the country when she reported that a million applicants have applied for the available 100, 000 N-power Batch “C”. This is not ignoring the fact that government which should be opposed to casualisation of workers is guilty of it, providing the wrong example for the private sectors to copy. How do you now explain that a large proportion of the Npower workers are still owed 2-6 months salary in arrears? We consider the Npower program a farce, which was designed in the first place as a publicity stunt and not anywhere near scientific planning to resolve Nigeria’s unemployment crisis.
We contend that the government’s programs should be geared towards the creation of dignifying and permanent jobs, with wages to match the rate of inflation, as this is the only way to lower Nigeria’s high unemployment figure. And this can easily be achieved by employing all the necessary skills and labour to the public service and saddle it with the tasks of carrying out the infrastructural works and constructions needed in the country, as opposed to the contract system which is nothing but a proven parasitic means to inflate the budget and provide money laundering services for political office holders, who in most cases are fronts for politicians.
We are opposed to the present casualisation of the Npower workers. We demand that full, and not token, efforts need to be made to stamp out unemployment in Nigeria by providing dignifying jobs, supported by the Nigerian Labour laws, especially when the government is the employer of labour. The argument that the government is financially handicapped to provide dignifying and lawful jobs is absurd, considering the princely amount capitalist politicians earn for their scorecard of failure in governance and management of the economy. As a way to go, the salaries of political office holders, and their other emoluments, should be equalized with that obtainable in the public service to free resources for job creation and social developments. The country is rich enough to provide a stipend for upkeep for every secondary school leaver, before deciding to either further their education or seek full employment and a living unemployment allowance for all graduates, without in any way hindering the growth of the country, given its huge wealth that is daily mismanaged and pilfered by the ruling elites and their cronies.
As a step in this direction the MSA calls for the nationalisation of the commanding sectors of the economy, placed under the democratic control of workers in these sectors, to direct the industrialization of the country. We call for an end to the importation of fuel by the building of new, functional refineries to meet the consumption need of the country. The path out of unemployment can only be paved by the direction of social resources and manpower to develop the means of production and this cannot be achieved by the false notion of encouraging the private sector, either local or foreign ones, to take up this task, in the bare face of the fact that the country possesses the wealth and resources to bring this about.
For this reason, the MSA is committed to an ideological repositioning of Nigeria’s political economy. We struggle for a society where the country’s workforce and resources, under the democratic control of the society, can be harnessed for social development. However, in the immediate, on this particular issue, we are demanding the absorption of all disengaged Npower workers into the public service, and the immediate payment of all their outstanding emoluments. We call on the labour movement, NLC, ULC, TUC, IndustriALL, and civil society organisations, to champion the cause of the exploited Npower workers, who have been casualised by the very government charged under Nigerian Labour laws to ensure decent employment. We as well demand that government puts in place a programme for young people in the country that will ensure a stipend for all secondary school leavers and unemployment allowance for unemployed graduates.