While attention is still on the draconian traffic laws recently imposed by the ACN government in Lagos, another major attack on the working masses of Lagos is already in progress. The Lagos state government had perfected plans to increase the taxes of the overtaxed workers of Lagos. The current payslip for July already reflects this crude reality. The State had increased the taxes payable by Lagos state workers without any form of prior discussion with the state NLC and the various public sector workers unions including the Nigerian Medical Association.
As usual, there is a news blackout by the mainstream media about this attack. The information got out when the governor summoned the State NLC and the public sector union leaderships to a meeting last week Thursday, 9/08/12, to inform them of the coup on workers' wages. Fasola claimed that due to the heavy debt profile of Lagos state, the government had increased the taxes of workers, in essence cut down wages, in order to pay the fictitious debt the ACN regime has incurred over the years.
The Lagos State government expects the state public sector trade union leaders to continue to hold down the workers by not leading workers to fight against this heinous crime.
It is on record that Lagos State has the highest debt profile among states in Nigeria. It has the biggest foreign and domestic debt. The Eko Atlantic city project alone has incurred for the state a debt of over a trillion naira.
Effectively, an evil austerity policy has been further intensified in Lagos. Public sector workers and the masses are now to pay for the crimes and mismanagement of ACN government.
Workers have noticed a significant reduction in their wages. For example a doctor who was paying about N35,000.00 as taxes noticed that he wages has been deducted by about N70,000.00.
Currently, in spite of the false claims by the state government that it is paying above the national minimum wage, Lagos state workers are receiving one of the lowest wages in Nigeria. With the current wage cut called tax increase, Lagos workers will no doubt be the lowest paid.
The truth about the finances of the Lagos after 13 years of ACN rule is gradually coming out. Fraudulent bank loans make up a significant percentage of the so-called internally generated revenue, IGR, of the state. Billions have been looted via the Public Private Sector Partnership schemes of the government over the years. Various government agency works have been given to parasitic private entities.
No doubt, the current wage cut will inevitable trigger off major fight backs from workers and the trade union leadership will not be able to continue to hold back workers.
The main reason why the Fasola regime has become more draconian in Lagos is not that it is interested in any form of order but that the government is in intense crisis due to its numerous corrupt policies and it want to extract more blood from the people.
A coordinated workers fight back is necessary, combined with the task of building a viable political alternative to the ACN. This is the time for worker to get more politically active by joining their party Nigerian Labour Party, NLP, and transform it. Only a battle on all fronts can guarantee victory.
Oppose Wage Cut!
Labour must take over its political party!