The Trade Union Congress has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to publish names of companies benefiting from its foreign exchange policy, to ensure openness and availability for the manufacturing sector.
TUC’s President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, made the request in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of the 5th Triennial Delegates Conference of the FCT Council.
He said the demand became necessary following reports of availability of dollars in hands of selected few persons.
‘‘CBN need to let the public know who those companies are that are applying for Forex, because we are aware that Forex is inadequate for manufacturing companies.
‘‘So if CBN is now saying that they will reduce the amount of dollars to be given to that sector of the economy, there should be assessment and traceability, background check for those companies applying for dollars.
‘‘If that list comes out, we are the ones in the sector, I know that a lot of companies that have closed down, and turned themselves into dollar agents, they are still sharing the little amount that is left for the sector.’’
According to him, if this is done, the apex bank will remove the fictitious companies from the list and make Forex available to manufacturing companies.
‘‘So we need to close that gap, remove the fictitious companies from the list, and by then, CBN may not need to reduce anything but to give to the manufacturing companies because of the effect on workers.’’
He said that the organised labour would take necessary steps to ensure that CBN publish the list, saying it was the right of Nigerian workers to know how its foreign exchange was being utilised.
He expressed concern about the source of data on milk importation, saying the congress was not aware about high milk importation, calling for public engagement and discussion before policy implementation.
He hailed the proposed CBN’s policy to place Forex restrictions on importation of milk, noting that this would encourage local production, boost the economy and also reduce capital flight from the country.
On the minimum wage, Quadri said the union has given the government some days to assess the documents, saying the union was awaiting the outcome of the committee meeting before taking the next line of action.
‘‘We are not afraid, we are always ready to engage the government, because salary is our right, it’s not a gift,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Christian Ohaa, Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), said the TUC has been a part of the success story of the administration.
He expressed the administration’s continuous support to promote the rights of all workers.
‘‘Usually, in their dogged pursuit of the rights of their members of which I am one, there is inevitable clash with the management of the organisation.
‘‘What I have learnt over the years is that when handling labour matters, both sides usually have compelling reasons for holding their own positions, the solution has always been compromise, maturity, level headedness.
‘‘A harmonious labour-government relationship will always benefit both parties and I am happy to say we have been able to achieve this in the FCT and the system has been better for us.’’ (NAN)