By Obioma C. Appolos
The Federal government has promised that it will fully implement the N30,000 new minimum wage that was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Vice President Prof Yemi Osibanjo, who said this at this year’s May Day celebration held at the Eagle’s Square Abuja, assured Nigerian workers that the Buhari-led federal government will not disappoint workers because it will make sure the new minimum wage in no distance time effectively reflect in their monthly wages.
His words, “The welfare and well-being of all these Nigerians who work everyday and render honest services every day is the true benchmark of our commitment as government and a people to social justice and dignity of all Nigerians.
“We will continue to commit ourselves to the cause of improving the lot of every working Nigerian and providing for those who cannot work. In this regard, the new National Minimum Wage, which Mr. President signed into law a few days ago, shall be fully implemented by the current administration.”
Speaking on this year May Day theme, tagged: “Another 100 Years of Struggle for Jobs, Dignity and Social Justice in Nigeria”, Osibanjo said; “I am also convinced that the careful selection of the theme is a reflection of our collective commitment to job creation, protection of rights of workers, workers’ dignity and promoting social justice in our country as espoused in various provisions of our constitution.”
The Vice President also recounted some measures took by the current administration towards maintaining industrial harmony in the country.
“Today’s event should provide us with the opportunity to reflect on our fidelity to the common principles that underlie the social justice and dignity of labour across the world. Our administration is firmly committed to these principles.
“On assumption of office in 2015, in spite of the daunting economic challenges, which confronted us at the time, we ensured that no worker was retrenched across the country. We further kept faith with this commitment by providing bailout funds for States unable to pay salaries and other benefits in order to pay accumulated arrears. We also released the Paris Club refunds owed since 2005 to make sure workers were not owed anything.
“We also ensured the payment of outstanding benefits of retrenched Nigerian Airways workers owed for decades. We also ensured the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), also paid arrears owed to parastatals and Civil Service pensioners covering 101,393 Civil Service pensioners on all grade levels and 76,310 parastatals pensioners across 186 agencies.
“This is in addition to arrears paid to pensioners in the Police and Customs Services in 2016 and 2018. Our administration also settled the issue of benefits of Nigerian Armed Forces and Paramilitary personnel who were dismissed and later pardoned for participating on the side of the secession in the course of the Civil War from 1967-1970. All of these veterans have now been paid their benefits.
‘Our Social Investment Programmes is the largest of its kind in Africa, and it is directed at ensuring that we are able to provide opportunities in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.Indeed, the largest numbers of Nigerian workers are informal workers. Those comrades of ours who are petty traders, smallholder farmers, artisans and tradesmen also deserve our respect and the protection of all labour laws.
“Our N-Power programme currently employs 500,000 young Nigerian graduates and additional 75,000 in specialized training as builders, automotive technicians and in other vocations. We have also expanded this programme to include technicians in animation and also specialists in other areas of technology.” His words.