NLC President visits Saraki, discusses minimum wage review, corruption war

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NLC President Ayuba Wabba
NLC President Ayuba Wabba

Abuja  (NAN) The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) says it will soon submit a new Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly for approval.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba made this known on Thursday in Abuja during a courtesy visit to Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Wabba said that in spite of the fact that the minimum wage had attained its five-year period before a review, the current exchange rate and economic realities made the wage unrealistic.

“The last Minimum Wage Act was promulgated by the National Assembly in 2011. As we also indicated in this year’s May Day address, the five-year circle during which the National Minimum Wage is due for review, is here.

“In addition, the devaluation of the naira from 150 to one dollar to about N242 to one dollar today, underscores grim situation for salary earners in the country.

“The devaluation in simple economic terms, means that the purchasing power of the ordinary Nigerian wage earner is grossly devalued.

“The N18,000 minimum wage is no longer realistic as a minimum wage.

“As a result of this grim economic reality, Congress will soon submit a new Minimum Wage demand, which we hope will be negotiated by the tripartite negotiating team.

“Our hope is that when the end product of that negotiation is brought before the National Assembly for legislation, it will be treated with dispatch,” he said.

He urged the National Assembly to assist in fighting corruption in Nigeria by passing legislations that would strengthen the laws and powers of anti-graft agencies for prosecution of offenders.

Also on legislation, he urged the National Assembly to pass a law that would ensure that the nation’s oil is refined locally, so as to create jobs and curb unwarranted capital flight.

Th NLC President also queried the National Assembly budget, seeking clarification on the quantum leap from N23 billion in 2003 to a whooping N154 billion in 2011.

He pledged the commitment of the congress to partner with the National Assembly in making people-friendly input to bills during public hearings.

In his remarks, Saraki, while congratulating Wabba on his election in March amid controversies, urged him to continue with the good works of representing the Nigerian workforce.

He assured the NLC that the Senate was determined to make impact in the lives of the Nigerian workers and ensure a connection between the workforce and the National Assembly.

He, however, pledged that the 8th Senate was on the same side with the NLC in improving the lot of all Nigerians and pledged that no sacrifice would be too much for Nigeria.

On the issue of corruption, Saraki said that the fight could only be won if workers cooperated, stressing that “no corrupt activity can be perpetrated without the input of the Nigerian worker.”

“Oil importers who declare wrong figures are only able to do that because the workers in charge of checking them collaborated.”

“It is time for all of us, including the workers, to show serious commitment in the fight against corruption.

“At the end of the day, when you talk about oil theft, we have Nigerian workers at the terminals who surely must know everything that is going on.

“We have a great opportunity with President Muhammadu Buhari, who had demonstrated the will to fight corruption.

“I am making a commitment on behalf of the National Assembly led by myself, that we are assuring you that we are committed to fighting corruption.

“We now need the cooperation of our workers who see it all; let us fight this thing collectively,” he said.

Saraki also re-emphasised the commitment of the senate toward curbing the cost of governance.

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