From Jibrin Miachi, Kaduna
As President Muhammodu Buhari is applauded for reviewing national minimum wage from N18,000.00 to N30,000.00 per month, a chieftain of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Suleiman Danzaki has requested the government to put in place necessary policies that will checkmate likely inflation if the new pay is implemented.
Comrade Danzaki, former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Kaduna state chapter, a subsidiary of NLC, who dressed down successive labour leaders made the request in reaction to the new salary increase for workers at both the federal, state and private sector levels.
Speaking in an interview with the AUHORITY, the former labour leader opined that though the minimum wage review was necessary and welcomed, inflations arising from high cost of transport and foodstuff, when the payment commences, will render the money valueless just as it will subject other Nigerians to untold hardship.
To this end, he enjoined federal government to introduce national policies that will take care of the envisaged inflations with a view to make the approved minimum wage beneficial to the beneficiaries and make life bearable for other Nigerians.
Sympathizing with the poor masses of Nigeria he said: “In solving the problem facing us, we have to sensitise government to subsidise or do whatever it can to bring down road transportation fair and agriculture but government has less than 10% interest in road transport.
“With this attitude, the federal government of Nigeria does not go with road transport sector and that is hindering real free movement of people and goods. In any country that is interested in the wellbeing of the people, agriculture and transportation development are the top priorities of government. So they subsidises effectively because of the direct effects on the masses. But in Nigeria, this is not the case.
“Yes, the review and approval of new national minimum wage is timely, giving the economic situation in Nigeria today but I am not expecting the implementation to start without putting in place policies that will checkmate inflations that will likely follow.
“From experience, the moment government start implementing the new pay, the prices of essential commodities including foodstuff will definitely go up beyond the reach of consumers.
“For the overall interest of the people of Nigeria I will request that President Buhari direct federal government comes up with policies that will make essential commodities such as transport and foodstuff available at affordable cost. And if I may suggest, price control should be reintroduced and enforced through Ministries of Transport and Trade respectively.
“It is a known fact that not many Nigerians are working either in public or private sector. The moment you increase workers’ salaries, the prices of essential commodities including foodstuff and even transport fares, as I said, will go up thereby making nonsense of the new pay.
“If the prices of essential commodities are made to come down to affordable level that is when the new salary will have value for the workers and life will be meaningful to all Nigerians,” Danzaki opined.
Speaking further, he lamented that “labour leaders are no more doing what they are supposed to do as unionists. Unlike in the past, the present crops of labour leaders are sycophant. They see their position as opportunity to improve their personal lives as they always go to the government to look for one favour or the other.