…Saraki, Dogara promise speedy passage of Minimum Wage bill
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration is considering a salary scale for workers that will be in line with today’s economic realities in Nigeria.
Buhari stated this on Tuesday while addressing workers at the Eagle Square Abuja on the occasion of this year’s Workers’ Day celebration.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the President also pointed out that the administration’s expression of commitment for an improved welfare for workers was never rhetoric.
The President added that the Federal Government Tripartite Committee on New Minimum Wage was in recognition of the need to exit workers in the country from the existing unacceptable salary scale.
Buhari, who said the administration has no intention to antagonise the organised labour, emphasised that ‘‘with the set up of the tripartite committee to negotiate the new minimum wage, Nigerian workers will be rest assured that this administration will see for its passage into law soon’’.
Besides, commenting on the provision of social intervention programmes for Nigerian youths and for the provision of desired job opportunities, President Buhari explained that the present administration has spent over N1.6 trillion on social intervention programmes in supporting different states.
He also commended the organized labour for supporting Federal Government’s fight against corruption, saying that ‘’the labour union must be united and I want to reiterate the effort of the administration to unite the organised labour union. This administration appreciates the labour union being a strong pillar in advocacy against anti-corruption campaign’’.
Furthermore, he stressed that funds meant for social intervention programmes will be judiciously spent on Nigerians.
According to him, the administration has performed creditably by initiating youths’ employment programme through N-Power and other schemes such as micro credit loans to the accessibility of millions of Nigerian youths, school feeding of pupils in about 21 states of the Federation.
He noted that it was imperative for Nigeria to have social intervention policy upon which youths as well as the vulnerable in the society can be protected, hence the rationale for prioritising social intervention programmes and micro and small medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Buhari noted that insecurity has become a major challenge, hence the renewed efforts to re-engine the security architecture in the country.
‘’We want to stop the criminals whose intentions are to divide this country. Why should one go to a church and kill priest. We must build bridges not war,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, as labour unions struggle for a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, the leadership of the National Assembly has pledged speedy passage of the new minimum wage into law.
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, made the pronouncement during the Worker’s Day celebration in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by Senator Victor Umeh, (APGA, Anambra West), Saraki stated that the upper legislative chamber will not shy away from its constitutional duties as regards Nigerian workers.
He described workers as the nucleus of the every nation’s development who should be empowered and encouraged in all capacity.
‘‘Now that the government has put up a tripartite committee for the minimum wage negotiation, I am optimistic that both chambers will synergise to ensure that such is achieved’’, Saraki added.
In a related development, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has reiterated the desire of the House to provide a better life for workers, adding that the legislature is still waiting for executive to forward the bill for an upward review of minimum wage to the National Assembly for passage.
In a statement to mark the 2018 Workers’ Day celebration, Dogara said he is not unmindful of the struggles and hardship faced by Nigerian workers in their daily lives, which is why the National Assembly is committed to putting more resources in the hands of workers.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government Committee on Minimum Wage which is currently conducting public hearings across the six geo-political zones in the country will soon conclude its assignment and a new national minimum wage bill will be transmitted to the parliament by the president.
Dogara said, “On behalf of the entire members of the House of Representatives, I want to use this occasion to, once again, underscore the importance of workers to the growth and prosperity of our dear nation, Nigeria.
“We see the struggles you go through to survive on wages that can barely last through the first week of the month. We see your dedication to doing your bit in ensuring that Nigeria continues to run effectively in spite of unfavourable conditions.
We commend your courage, your commitment to service and nation building and urge you to continue supporting government policies and agenda.
‘I assure you, on this occasion, that the National Assembly will give expeditious passage to the Minimum Wage Bill whenever it is transmitted by the executive and any other initiative that will promote the welfare of the Nigerian worker. We will support it wholeheartedly,” the Speaker stated.