What Labour Said About New Minimum Wage As Nigeria Turns 59
File image of labour members’ parade during strike

The organised labour in Nigeria says it believes that the country can easily pay the N30,000 new minimum wage if it reduced the cost of governance, Concise News reports.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in a statement to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence, called on the country to reassert her value and leadership in the continent and stand by the tenets of democracy.

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According to him, Nigeria has had a number of highs and lows, saying while it should celebrate the highs, it must also ponder on the lows and pick useful lessons from them.

“It is important to celebrate the deconstruction of colonial rule and what independence offered the Nigerian nation and people,” the statement read.

“A priceless opportunity to pursue our dreams and rewrite the history of colonial evil by the strides of our post colonial existence.”

Wabba said that the country started off on a trajectory of solid foundation laid by the country’s founding fathers, who he said were in a hurry to hurl her at par with development elsewhere.

He said that the founding fathers invested heavily to build the social capital of the country through their commitment to quality and universal public education and construction of excellent medical facilities.

The result, according to him, was topnotch human capital development as Nigeria became the doyen of intellectualism in Africa, producing world class scholars, professionals and workers in different sectors of the economy.

“Industrialisation was not the dessert but the main menu of governance, our founding fathers proved this by creating the enabling environment for industrialisation, by providing quality roads, mass electrification and security of lives and property.

As for the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye, he said that the military incursion into politics, corruption, ethnicity, religious crisis were major factors preventing Nigeria’s growth.

“The military incursion into politics, corruption, ethnicity, religious crisis, have worked against our national development. It is even more worrisome and unfortunate that at this time and age the crack is widening by the day,” a statement from the TUC read.

“We must interrogate the reason why countries we were at par with have left us far behind. China, India, Indonesia, were our contemporaries but they are now in the first league while we are dragging economic space with some countries in Africa.

“Although revenue from tax has improved significantly but unfortunately, instead of widening the tax net, the impoverished public is overtaxed, leading to despondency and despair.”

TUC also knocked the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for failing to pay the new Minimum Wage of N30,000 as earlier agreed.

“We find it disturbing that months after the National Minimum Wage committee set up by the Federal Government to work on the new wage had submitted their report, government is still not committed to paying the new wage,” it said.

“We are beginning to think that signing it in the first place was because of the 2019 General Elections. To talk about setting up another committee over the same issue makes us feel we have been swindled. We have learnt our lessons.

“The argument on the part of government has always been that there is no money to pay minimum wage, whereas lawmakers have budgeted N5.6bn to purchase automobile that are not produced in Nigeria.

“Our belief is that government can actually pay if only the cost of governance will be reduced.”

President Buhari, had in April this year, signed the National Minimum Wage Bill of N30,000.

The Nigerian Senate had on 19 March approved the bill increasing the national minimum wage.

The federal lawmakers passed the bill after President Buhari sent it for consideration, following its approval by the National Council of State.