The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has faulted how palliatives provided by the federal government to vulnerable Nigerians are being distributed.
NLC in a letter signed by its President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, and addressed to the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, called for an expansion of the social register and distribution system that can cover most Nigerians affected by the pandemic.
Wabba called for the government to partner with Labour and private sector employers on the stimulus package to ensure effective distribution to poor Nigerians.
He stressed that labour employers have the grassroots presence, especially at wards and units, and can ensure that palliatives get to those who really need them.
“While we commend the 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.
“Mass-based organizations such as labour has the grassroots presence, especially at wards and units, and can ensure that palliatives get to those who really need them – the poorest of the poor who cannot afford a meal per day. We posit that using the old platform will not deliver the desired result.
“The most critical need of the poorest of the poor among us is to beat hunger. Government palliatives should be tailored in a way that guarantees poor Nigerians, especially daily income earners, at least two daily meals.
“Thus, we call for an expansion of the national social register to capture individual Nigerian workers who do not live with their families,” the letter read in part.
NLC also suggested that resources provided for the national school feeding programme should be re-channeled to feeding the poor, the aged and the destitute.
The federal government had initially said it would provide only cash relief for Nigerians who recharge N100 on their phones and have N5,000 or less in their bank accounts.
However, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, after much criticisms, made a U-turn on Tuesday, revealing that the government will employ the use of digital models including the use of Bank Verification Number (BVN) in expanding the social register for palliative distribution.