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August 19, 2018

About job cuts and employment scams

The Emergence and Proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra
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Our anger matches our Judgment.
There is no doubt that there is a deepening despair in the land over the seemly lull in governance, and execution of government  projects  leading to liquidity squeeze in the backdrop of the electoral promises of Job! Job!! Job!! Factory!!Factory!!!Employment! Employment!! Employment!!! These familiar sound bites now sound increasingly like a cracked record and very annoying to some people especially those persons in need of jobs.
There are no indicators months after reelection of the governor that the government would lift employment embargo but relatives and in-laws of government officials are smiling behind new desks. But that does not stop the anti-labour policy posture of the Governor which led the NLC to issue a warning to mobilize and shut down the state: “as a response to Governor Okorocha’s consistent anti-labour policies, impunity and retrenchment of workers, in spite of his promises to the leadership of the Congress that he would not take such decisions. Congress also resolved to take a national action in respect of Imo if necessary.”
Imo state unemployed youths and the products of the  free education policy on the other hand are finding out in the hard way that there are no waiting jobs for them. Those who have jobs in government are either going through Job cuts or salary cuts. Either way, they are not happy about what is happening.
Indeed they have been the victims of government scams. Take for instance the   Imo state University teaching hospital advertisements for administrative, legal, medical, and technical positions declared vacant in the institution. Hapless indigenes were made to cough out N2000/N3000 for eligibility to apply for phantom jobs through 2014. Including my wife and that is my money! It is just another version of the immigration recruitment ‘wayo.’
Thousands applied for these jobs and till date there has never been an interview date set. This happened under the watch of this present administration. Only a top key personnel, it seems was removed and since then, nothing else has happened. There is hush- hush about everything.
Also in Orlu, hapless youths were milked of N2000 for eligibility for employment under the so called royal guards scam. This occurred right at the local government headquarters. Nothing has happened till date. Instead of hiring the government is firing.
Some think that firing and hiring shouldn’t go on the same time. Others think that the upcoming industrial policy that would create employment requires to be believed. In fact there are no specific sums set aside for industrialization that would lead to job creation although, according to a report the Governor: “presented a 102-billion-Naira budget proposal for 2016 before the Imo State House of Assembly which according to him, the budget would also concentrate on infrastructure development and substantial provision, saying it would be channeled towards the completion of all ongoing projects while new projects of high priority would also receive attention in line with the state’s medium term expenditure framework.”
There are no obvious ‘concentration’ on industries and no specific allocations for factory! Factory!! Leading to Job! Job!! Job!!! And employment! Employment!! Employment!!!  under the budget proposals. Infact the State’s debt burden and accumulated indebtedness to contractors, pension liabilities may exceed the value of the proposed budget.
However, I wish to express my support to the Governor in his efforts to downsize the labour force of the state to a manageable level in view of the economic problems facing the country tied to the poor price of crude oil which has impacted on the State. This support comes with a price tag that I get a refund from IMSUTH.
Although, it appears ironical that in spite of the fall in oil prices, the prices of petroleum products continue to rise in Nigeria. Imo state is a special case though. In other states there are tasks forces set up to monitor and enforce price ceilings. But unfortunately in Imo such task force exists but fails to be effective simply because the members are corrupt. They know the proprietors and perhaps belong to same associations or party and simply alert them on impending raids. Sometimes these petroleum station owners simply sell at night. These explains why, in Imo state, they sell fuel at least N30 more expensive than in any other states.
The excuses of independent marketers for their unpatriotic conduct would be unacceptable if the reasons for the proposal by ‘Whomever’ of Imo petroleum Development Company Ltd is understood.
The governor should start his firing from members of the petroleum ministry, and task force and key appointees. They have contributed in great measure to the hardship faced by the people. They are blameworthy for the way things are moving out of planning.
It is of great importance that a State’s resources should be sufficient to meet its obligations .Much of our State’s resources come from the oil derivations and some from IGR, which remains dwindling because of the absence of real industrial and serious economic activity in Imo State.
These industries often are located in Lagos. While it is impossible that a Yoruba man would site a multimillion business, outside his domain, in Igbo land, our own Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho who once sought to be Governor of this State, actually sited a multimillion dollar refinery in Lagos. This refinery is to be fed by a pipeline running from Bonny in Eastern Nigeria to Lagos. There are suitable locations in Abia that has a developable seaport or Oguta that are oil producing. But he would prefer an alien land in which his people would have diminished control. Why is that? Why do we lack a creative force that would provide a Marshal plan for our State economic development in spite of perceived political differences?
This is one of the reasons why we would have growing unemployment in our state and the state government would remain the highest employer of labour with all the inimical dangers of having a big government. There is a greater hardship when there is a downturn in the economy when the state anticipated revenue from the derivation fund tied to crude export depreciates sufficiently to put us in the economic stupor in which paying bogus wages to some idle and inefficient civil servants would seem purposeless.
The Nigerian Labour Congress cannot inhibit the power of a state to hire and fire in my view. The anomaly arises only because the government that has promised jobs should not be seen as firing, blowing hot and cold the same time.
Just in case that the government has genuine intentions to hire, it should consider more on the health sector and the judiciary where there are real requirements. By the way, in passing, I like also to ask for refunds for all those who paid for the IMSUTH job scam. Or an interview date, as either seems fair. It is better late than never. Fire on.

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