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NLC Expresses Worry On Economy; Warns Against Lockdown Extension

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Few days to the termination of the second two weeks lockdown order, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government (FG) not to extend the stay at home order aimed at containing the raging COVID-19 in the country.

NLC in a letter dated April 14, 2020 and addressed to the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and dater April 14, 2020, faulted the method deployed by the FG in the distribution of the National Social Intervention Programme – palliative measures.

The Labour body expressed worry that the extension of the lockdown, especially in the face of lopsidedness in the palliative distribution, could prompt social unrest in the affected states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The NLC letter which was signed by its National President, Comrade Ayuba Waba stated: “While we understand the public health imperatives for extending the lockdown in some parts of the country, it is also very important to underscore the fact that the states currently under total lockdown are the economic and administrative nerve centres of Nigeria.

“This is very dicey. As much as it is important to keep many Nigerians from dying in the hands of coronavirus, loss of income and the accompanying destitution can also be a pathfinder for numerous other sicknesses and deaths. This is the time to play the balancing game.

“The truth is that our economy might relapse into prolonged coma if the current lockdown in the nation’s nerve centres goes beyond the current extension.

“There were widespread acts of civil disobedience, inducement of law enforcement agents to gain passes and even various forms of violent crimes.

“No one is sure how long this dam would hold. We fear that the situation will get out of hand if the lockdown exceeds one month.

“While we commend government for being proactive, we opine that the stimulus package would be best served through consultation with social partners.

“Labour and private sector employers have a good understanding of industries where jobs and production are in most danger.”


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