The Plateau Government on Tuesday met with leaders of the organised labour in the state in its bid to reopen the state for economic activities after nine weeks of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Simon Lalong, while addressing the labour leaders, said that the meeting was to seek the inputs of stakeholders on how best to reopen the economy.
Lalong, who was represented by Prof. Danladi Atu, Secretary to the State Government, said that the State Government had assessed the Federal Government’s directives on how to ease the lockdown.
He said the state government would adopt some of the measures hence the need for the stakeholders’ engagement.
“In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive, the 10pm to 4am curfew would be in place and banks are allowed to operate.
“Aviation activities in respect of domestic flights will start on June 21 as directed.
“However, we need inputs of stakeholders on how best go from here because it is obvious that COVID-19 will stay longer than anticipated,” he said.
The governor said that he had met with traditional rulers and would meet with other stakeholders after the labour leaders.
According to him, the consensus so far was for the economy to be reopened but added that the government would take its time to assess the options to avoid a spike in number of cases.
Mr Eugene Manji, Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Plateau said that there was urgent need to reopen the state for economic activities.
Manji stated that the informal sector had been terribly affected by the prolonged lockdown of the state.
He warned that people may be forced to revolt against the lockdown and the wave of crime may increase if the lockdown continued.
“Health they said is wealth and whatever affects health will also affect wealth and whatever affects wealth will affect health.
“Therefore, there is urgent need to open up the economy otherwise the efforts of trying to curtail the spread of the virus may amount to nothing,” he added.
The labour leader lauded the state government efforts so far in containing the spread of the disease, especially the number of patients that had recovered.
He commended workers for respecting the protocols put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus and advised the government against downsizing or slashing workers’ salaries because of the impact of COVID-19.
Mr Titus Malau, Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Plateau,advised that stringent measures should be put in place if government must reopen the economy.
Malau said that a body should be constituted to monitor adherence to the protocols.
He stressed that persons that failed to observe the protocols, such as hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing, should be sanctioned.
Mr Izam Azi, Plateau Head of Service, commended the labour leaders and the entire workers for their understanding during the trying times.
Azi said that workers understood the situation and suspended the negotiations for the new minimum wage. (NAN)