Minimum wage: APC chieftain warns FG to avoid arbitrary increment

President Bola Tinubu (middle) signing the 2023 supplementary Budget at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday.With him are: From left: Senate Leader, Sen Opeyemi Bamidele; Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Sen Olamilakan Adeola; President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio; Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas; Chairman, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Minister of Budget, Atiku Bagudu and Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services Zachs Adedeji

Osita Okechukwu, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged the federal government to exercise caution in implementing an “arbitrary” salary increment, expressing concerns about its potential to exacerbate inflation.

In a statement, Sunday, Okechukwu, a former Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), cautioned against repeating the mistakes of the Jerome Udoji Salary Commission of 1972, commonly known as the “Udoji award,” which inadvertently led Nigeria into a dollarized economy.

“It is my considered view that an arbitrary salary increase would undoubtedly worsen the already heightened inflationary challenges in our dear country,” remarked Okechukwu.

He highlighted that some states have yet to implement the N30,000 minimum wage, emphasizing the uncertainty surrounding their commitment to any further wage increments.

The federal government recently set up a tripartite committee to determine a new minimum wage. The committee is chaired by the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Goni Aji.

Premium Times reported that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) recently issued a two-week ultimatum to the federal government to address the food crisis or face mass protests.

In addition to labour groups, various states have witnessed protests over the rising cost of living.

Okechukwu urged the NLC and TUC to reconsider their planned strike action and instead key into the federal government’s one million housing scheme.

He asserted that the housing initiative presents a more viable alternative to arbitrary wage increments that could further exacerbate inflation.

“The provision of targeted one million owner-occupier houses with long-term financing and soft mortgage rates structured seamlessly is a Win-Win-Card for all Nigerians. It will be President Tinubu’s foremost legacy,” suggested Okechukwu.

Proposing a solution, he recommended that the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Ministry of Labour, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, NLC, TUC, Nigeria Employees Consultative Association, and other relevant agencies collaborate to establish long-term finance and new soft mortgage rates for affordable owner-occupier houses, drawing funds from the savings accrued from the withdrawal of fuel subsidy. (Premium Times)

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