SERAP Reveals How Buhari Can Fund New Minimum Wage
President Buhari. Image: Premium Times

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to cut down lawmakers’ wages to fund the minimum wage.

Nigeria’s organised labour are on strike due to a breakdown in negotiations with the Federal Government on the proposed N56,000 minimum wage.

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In a statement on Sunday, the group also suggested that Buhari should use recovered looted funds to pay the new minimum wage.

It noted that the present wage is exploitative and a contrast to what some politicians earn.

“As the government marks Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day, now is the time for it to choose between spending billions of naira to fund the lavish lifestyles of billionaire politicians or lifting millions of Nigerian workers out of poverty by ensuring that the national minimum wage is set at a level sufficient to provide all workers and their families with a decent standard of living,” the statement said.

“Successive governments have demonstrated scant respect for the fundamental human right of Nigerian workers to a just remuneration while at the same time increasing salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officials including members of the National Assembly, state governors and ministers.”

It said “recovery of stolen public assets and other illicit wealth” will help “implement an adequate living wage would be entirely consistent with Nigeria’s obligations to take steps progressively to use its maximum available resources to ensure an adequate standard of living for marginalized Nigerians.”

“To improve the ability of the government to pay the NLC-proposed minimum wage, the government can begin to take tangible steps like proposing legislation to cut security votes of around N241 billion yearly.”

In addition, it urged Buhari “to push to stop former governors from receiving double pay and life pensions as serving senators and ministers, while instructing the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to use the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) to seek refund of over N40 billions of public funds received by ex-governors now serving in appointive or elective positions as public officers.”