By Bolaji Buhari
Lagos – The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has advised the Federal Government to adopt the N30,000 minimum wage proposed by the tripartite committee it set up to review workers’ pay in the country .
The Lagos State Chairman of the party, Malam Shakirudeen Olofin, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
He was reacting to a statement made by the Special Adviser on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, that the government had not adopted any figure as minimum wage.
Adesina had, in a statement on Thursday, said media reports that Buhari had accepted the N30,000 minimum wage were untrue.
He said that the president, while receiving the report of the Amal Pepple-led committee on Tuesday in his office, only said he was committed to giving workers a new minimum wage as soon as possible.
Adesina said reports that Buhari agreed with the tripartite committee’s N30,000 proposal only to backtrack on the promise were incorrect.
The media aide said that the president only emphasised that the proposal had to go through some executive and legislative processes to be finally determined.
“The president never mentioned anything figure.What he consented to was a new minimum wage, and only after the report of the committee has been reviewed by the executive and legislative processes of the government and appropriate bill presented to him for assent.
“Until the proposed minimum wage has gone through the whole gamut of law-making, President Buhari, who is a stickler for due process, will not be caught in this unnecessary web of controversy which amounts to putting the cart before the horse and hair-splitting,” Adesina said.
Olofin said the government’s explanation was valid and clear, but urged it to do its best to ensure the minimum wage was not below N30,000 at the end of the day.
He said workers had been impoverished as a result of high costs of goods and services, and most had not been able to make ends meet with N18,000.
“The Nigerian workers are really feeling the heat in the economy. Prices of goods and services have gone up, and the reality is that people cannot afford most things with N18,000.
“We want to appeal to the government to do its best to implement the N30,000 as proposed by the tripartite committee and not go below it.
“This will ensure that workers can at least improve their present conditions and live better lives with their families.
“N30,000 is not too much in a country where legislators earn about N13million as running costs alone. Nigerian workers are the real builders of the country, so they deserve a good wage,” he said.
Olofin urged the executive and the National Assembly to expedite action on the minimum wage to alleviate the sufferings of workers.
He decried the non-payment of salaries by some state governments despite a couple of bail-outs by the Federal Government to support payment.
Olofin described the situation as unacceptable,urging the Federal Government to probe use of bail-outs by defaulting governors and impose sanction in cases of diversion.