April 17, 2024

Federal Government Slashes Inter-State Fares by 50% with Transport Subsidy, Sparking Sharp Criticism from Labor.
The Federal Government has announced a 50% reduction in transportation costs along 22 interstate routes during the Yuletide season. The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Presidential Intervention, chaired by Mr. Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, disclosed this. He stated, “President Tinubu wants Nigerians to travel within Nigeria to wherever they want to meet their loved ones without the extra burden of paying exorbitantly for inter-state public transportation.” He further explained, “It is in this wise that the Federal Government is announcing, beginning tomorrow (today), a special discounted holiday season fare on road transport and zero-fare by rail across Nigeria.”

The National Union of Road Transport Workers also confirmed their collaboration, with their spokesperson, Segun Falade, saying, “The Federal Government of Nigeria through the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has issued a directive, and the modality towards implementing that directive is what we have been discussing in the NURTW Executive Committee. So basically, the 50% slash will take effect from tomorrow (today) as directed.”

However, not everyone is supportive of the initiative. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) criticized the decision, calling it “a show of confusion” on the part of the government. Tommy Etim, National Deputy President of the TUC, expressed disappointment and stated, “The government is getting more confused. Slashing interstate transport prices can lead to a crash in economic growth.” The NLC, represented by Benson Upah, Head of Information, also criticized the government, saying, “Government is killing a cow with its mouth, and we Nigerians are eating it with our ears.”

In contrast, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) praised the initiative. Dr. Mike Ike-Ene, the Secretary-General of the NUT, said, “On behalf of workers and the general public, I sincerely say kudos to those who came up with the initiative, and I hope that it will work.” He also emphasized the need for security on trains and expressed concern over incidents such as the recent Kaduna kidnappings.

Chido Onumah, Coordinator of the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, welcomed the development, considering it a “relief” for citizens from the pains of subsidy removal.

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