Minimum Wage And 2019 Bid, Oshiomhole Explains
With the plan to approve a new minimum wage for workers in Nigeria, critics have said the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari wants to use it to score a point in 2019 general election.
But a former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Adams Oshimhole, says it goes beyond politics.
The unionist, who was a former governor of Edo State, said the proposal to implement the new minimum wage was not a political gimmick to win the 2019 general elections.
On the sidelines of the 26th convocation lecture of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, Oshiomhole said the government had said it would begin implementation of workers minimum wage by the third quarter of 2018.
Oshiomhole, who is also a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the government’s pronouncement on the minimum wage “is only about a political will".
He said there was already a case to review the wages prior to the election, adding that he was not bothered about when the implementation of the new minimum wage would start.
According to him, he is only bothered by the fact that some workers in some states are still not paid the current 18,000 Naira minimum wage in use.
He said denying a worker the minimum of 18,000 Naira was enough to prick the conscience.
Oshiomhole quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying that “he does not know how anyone who has not paid workers for two, three months or even one year is able to sleep".
“As governor of Edo, I increased the minimum wage from N18,000 to N25,000 a month for the least paid worker.
“And I did that to dismiss and to close the debate whether a higher minimum wage is desirable.
“Rather than going to be giving a lecture on why a higher minimum wage is inevitable, I thought it is better to use my executive power to increase the minimum wage and to pay it.
“Not only did I pay it for as long as I was governor, my successor has continued to pay it.
“And Edo has continued to deliver on infrastructure and on its mandate to the admiration of its residents,’’ the former governor said.
The lecture was entitled “Crisis of Governance, Governance of Crisis: The Role of Education in Nibbling Governance Crisis in Nigeria", the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The Federal Government, through the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, had on February 27 said implementation of the new minimum wage would begin in the third quarter of the year.
NLC had proposed 56,000 Naira for the least paid worker to the Federal Government.
A 30-member committee on minimum wage headed by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Ama Pepple, was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2017.
It is not yet clear whether the proposed amount received the approval of the committee.