Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed to order over the plans to reduce workers’ salary.
The labour Center in a statement issued by the Congress President, Comrade Quadri A. Olaleye, and Secretary-General, Comrade (Barr.) Musa-Lawal Ozigi frowned at the stance of the minister who said that workers’ salary is the reason the cost of governance is high.
TUC indicated that the President should rein in his appointee as they have been making some unreasonable statements that are capable of fueling more crises in the country even at a time the country is battling to address the one at hand.
“To come up with such an idea at a time we are still grappling with the effect of pandemic and millions of people have been rendered jobless for months already is not only preposterous but wicked and, in every shade, ungodly.
“We are surprised this is coming from a mother. The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, nay Nigerians believe the government knows the right thing to do to cut down the cost of governance; what it actually lacks is the political will to do so. Events of the recent past have shown that workers are not the problem; rather the appointees of government are responsible for the sorry state of the country. They brought every strata of the country to its knee. It is a pity”, it said
The Labour Center emphasised that as at Q4 2020 the unemployment rate stood at 33.3% and it is projected to rise even further in the coming months while the rate of inflation as at March, 2021 stood at18.17%.
“The consequential effects of these are that we now have more idle hands capable of going into crime.
“Also, even the N30, 000 minimum wage which some states are yet to commence payment has been rubbished by the high rate of inflation. It is important to also remind her that there is a law backing National Minimum Wage.
“Agreed, it has become very imperative for the government to reduce the cost of governance and that must be done the right way.
“Time has come for the take home of political office holders to be significantly reduced. The country is paying them for nothing.
“Our politicians have so much money which is why they can arm thugs (idle youths) to snatch ballot boxes during elections; give bribe, launder money thereby creating scarcity of forex, buy houses abroad and do other despicable things meanwhile someone is busy pushing for a slash of salary of the impoverished workers. This is a clear case of misplaced priority. We are saddened by this.”
Speaking further, the Union said the minister of finance need to allow her ministry to work collaboratively with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to come up with policies that would shape the country economically. “Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) have continued to dwindle in the country despite our economic potentials. Investors are discouraged from investing due to insecurity, unfavourable policies or a general lack of a suitable business environment. Maybe she is not aware that Ghana has become a business hob for investors? The Union stated that the organised labour condemns the plan being orchestrated by the minister, because workers do not deserve such treatment.
“Maybe we should remind the Minister of Finance that some countries are increasing salaries to make life easy for their citizens.
“We want to also use this opportunity to warn states that have not commenced payment to implement it. We also call on the government to ensure the protection of jobs and reduce the cost of governance by a substantial reduction of salaries of political office holders, starting with the executive, members of the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Chairmen of Local Governments, Councillors and aides to politicians. Sadly, some aides even have aides” the statement added.