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Bello reveals kind of minimum wage workers should demand

Muhammad Bello, the Federal Capital Territory Minister, has advised the organised Labour to demand for fair, just and implementable National Minimum Wage for the Nigerian workers in the country.

Speaking on Thursday at the opening ceremony of a public hearing organised by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage Public hearing held in Abuja, Bello underlined, however, the need for improved welfare package for workers who create wealth for the country.

Bello, who was represented by Amina Abubakar, FCT Director Human Resources, described the public hearing on the minimum wage as timely and laudable.

He also urged the Tripartite committee to bear in mind the current economic realities and the high cost of living, particularly as it affects the low and middle income earners in the country.

The Minister, who described workers as the goose that lay the golden egg, disclosed that the FCT Administration has critically examined the issues and observed that the plan review should be juxtaposed with government revenue profile to ensure hitch free implementation upon approval.

“We all will agree that the current as,are structure which begin with the N18,000 minimum wage fall short of what is required to guarantee a minimum living standard in our economy today. Since it came into force in 2011, series of economic forces including inflation have eroded its purchasing power.

“On a closer look, this only amount to N600 per day and indeed les than $2 per day. It clearly put the earning power of the Nigerian worker even below the poverty bracket defined by the international development institutions. Since the promulgation of the first national minimum wage act of 1981, which provided a baseline of N125 per month, Nigeria has witnessed more than three other revisions.

“These ranges from the N250 recommended in 1991 to N5,500 per month of 2000 which paved the way for the current N18,000 per month. Unfortunately, each time. New minimum wage is arrived at, it sets up a wave of economic forces that erode the gains envisaged by the review. Being mindful of the attendant pitfalls of salary review in the last three decades, the solutions we seek may not be found only in the injection of raw cash into the worker’s pay.

“Committee members may wish to address their minds also to other critical issues that pose threats to workers pay packages. This include the need for affordable housing, transportation, medical care as well as the cost of educating their children,” he noted.

“There is need for the committee to consider recommending of salary structure of relativity among all Federal Government establishments.

“A situation where some government parastatals pay enhanced salary structures and allowances for their work force, while others especially core ministries pay regular salary structures. This could be somehow demoralising.

“Investigation indicates that some junior officers in these parastatals earn more than some directors in the core Ministries, Departments and Agencies,‘’ she said.

Bello, however, called on the committee to also advocate for the downward review of the salaries and allowances of such parastatals as well as consider the review and reintroduction of some allowances that should mitigate obvious disparity.

“There is a need to take into account the expensive nature of the FCT vis-ais-vis high cost of living, housing and transportation among others.

“There also a need to consider special allowances for the FCT workers, adding that the proposed review should be fair, just and considerate,” he added.

DAILY POST reports that the two labour centres, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had submitted a Memorandum to the Tripartite Committee, demanding for a monthly National Minimum Wages of N66,500, against the N52,000 submitted earlier.











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