Monday, June 24, 2024
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Reps Urge FG On Living Wage For Nigerian Workers, Reduction Of Electricity Tariff


Lucky Obukohwo, Reporting

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to prioritize the welfare of the Nigerian workers by giving them living wage, rather than minimum wage.

The House, which lauded the organised labour for suspending its industrial action over a new minimum wage, also urged the government on downward review of electricity tariff to reduce the suffering of Nigerians.

This followed the adoption of a motion by the Minority Whip, Ali Isa, on the necessity of a living wage for workers in the country, owing to current economic hardship in the country.

Isa, in his debate, said the global economic outlook as well as the current socio-economic policies of the Federal Government “have resulted in inflation, increase in electricity tariff, currency devaluation and other diverse economic consequences, especially for Nigerian workers.”

According to him, the current minimum wage, which came into effect on “April 18, 2019 has expired after five years on April 18, 2024, thereby calling for a further review of the existing Act.”

The Minority leader, Kingsley Chinda, in his contribution, noted that the government has failed in the provision of security and welfare for the citizens.

Chinda said: “Sections 14 and 16 provide for security and welfare of the people. Can we say we have carried out that function of governance? Can we say we have provided security and welfare? The answer is no.

“One Nigerian life equals one minute of silence. Workers are crying about their salaries as it is no longer possible to live on N50,000, and we expect them to earn that and continue to serve. We must provide living wages for the workers. We cannot shy away from living wages while talking about minimum wage.”

Nevertheless, the lawmaker said when labour embark on strike, they should not overstep their bounds.

“Sometimes, when they embark on strike, they should not overstep boundaries. Those who are protesting, why they have a good course, must adopt proper procedures and not violate the law.

“I want to say with the speed we passed the National Anthem Act, we should recall the Minimum Wage Act and pass it. And if the president refuses to sign, then we override him,” he said.

Babajimi Benson noted that it is not enough to pressurise the Federal Government to pay a particular amount as minimum wage, without taking into consideration the ability of the private sector to pay.

“The issue of minimum wage should not be an exclusive list issue. Some states can pay higher than others,” Benson added.



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