New minimum wage will address poverty gap, says FG

The Federal Government has assured workers that it was working towards ensuring a new national minimum wage that will address issue of social imbalance, inequality and the wide gap of poverty.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, gave the assurance at an award dinner to end the 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja.

The Nation reports that the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, late Pa Micheal Imoudu, late Olaitan Oyelunde, late Chima Ubani, late Prof. Festus Iyayi as well as the congress’ past presidents and general secretaries and a host of others were honoured and inducted into Labour Hall of Fame for their contributions to the labour movement.

Mustapha said the welfare of workers was top on the priority list of the Buhari administration, adding that because of the importance the government attached to the issue, it was making a lot of efforts to resuscitate the economy.

He said: “The importance of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the affairs of any government cannot be overlooked. It is the soul of the government because without the workers, be they civil servants, private sector workers or even pensioners, there will be nobody to man the system.

“That is why this administration takes the welfare of the Nigerian worker as priority by putting so much effort into the resuscitation of the economy. I must underscore the fact that the primary objective of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is to diversity the economy, grow skills, create wealth, gain infrastructure, ensure food security and provide jobs.”

Mustapha added: “The Federal Government is conscious of the need to bring wages to meet economic realities. It is in this regard that the tripartite minimum wage committee was inaugurated to review the national minimum wage. The committee is determined to complete its assignment before the end of this year and I am confident that the outcome of their assignment would address the issue of social imbalance, inequality and the wide gap of poverty in the country.”

He congratulated the NLC leadership for deeming it proper to reward past services through recognitions.

“I congratulate the awardees and say that your recognition tonight is a challenge to all of us to continue to contribute our best to the service of our nation,” the SGF said.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba said the dinner was organised to honour those who have contributed to the growth of the Labour movement in the country, some of who paid the supreme price and others who spent several months in detention during the military era to strengthen the labour movement.

He said with the high level of discussion during the anniversary, it was evident that the future would be bright for workers.

He called for cooperation of Nigerians in the struggle to make the country a better place.

Wabba said: “As enumerated during the three-day brainstorming event, and from the volume of discourse, it is very clear that the future will be bright because we have assembled the best from among our rank and file…

“I am certain and all of us are convinced that from the issues that were discoursed, we have reasons to look into the future and build NLC of our dreams.”