…Recommends development of sector specific protocols
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for the development of sector specific protocols to ensure opening of all sectors of the economy including the interstate movements.
Speaking with the Daily Times in Abuja, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba questioned the rationale behind the move by the Federal Government to open the Aviation industry for local flights when the ban on interstate movements was still in force.
He said that for months, over two million of its members under the Road Transport Workers are suffering without any means of livelihood.
“We must open up all sector of the economy with specific sector protocols. If the Federal Government is opening Aviation industry for local flights, then nothing stops them from also opening inter state travels because as I speak, over 2 million of Road Transport Workers have not gotten anything including palliative.
These are people in the private businesses in the informal sector, they are at home and it is affecting them very badly.
“This is also affecting businesses, its affecting small sand medium scale businesses, so our proposal is that the Federal government should have protocols to open up inter state businesses including road transport workers.
“Just as they are doing for the Aviation sector, they should do same for all other sectors including Road Transport Workers and inter State travels.
FG should have a specific timeline for those sectors to open up, the lockdown can not be perpetual and that have been our position consistently. In many climes that is how businesses are operating, therefore, we should not be exception.”
While calling on the government to address the issue holistically, he said that it will be double jeopardy (the economy and health sector) if the lockdown persist especially now that the country is currently experiencing COVID-19 at the community level.
“The issue of lockdown cannot be perpetual, in fact, at the point where we are now with the community transmission, what is required is for people to take responsibility.
It’s individual responsibility that will strengthen the approach to the issue because if you lockdown the border and within the state things are happening, I don’t think we will be addressing the issue.
“Our last proposal to the government which we have made public is that we must find a way of coming up with sector specific protocols and timeline to open up the sectors. It is very critical for the economic activities to pick up.
“We must look strategically to see how can open up every sector but with a sector specific protocol that can take care of any challenge because we cannot remain perpetually in lockdown.
What we should do tomorrow to save the livelihood of many people, why should you delay it if you can put protocols in place that will address it today?
“Like the Aviation sector that we are talking about, cases are still increasing but we are coming up with a protocol to say that we are opening the sector why? Because it has impacted negatively on the economy of Aviation sector.
“Government should have looked at every sector guidelines that will guarantee the safety of the people. It’s not rocket science, many countries have done it. Sweden for example have not closed own for one day and cases have gone down using strategy and science.”