By Dayo Johnson
THE Federal Government yesterday said that a new wage regime for workers in the country will be unfolded next year, just as Nigerians await the full deregulation of the oil sector.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Adetokunbo Kayode, said this in Akure while speaking with newsmen at the laying of the Foundation of the N25million National Skill Acquisition Centre in Oba Ile area, Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Kayode, who had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, said the new minimum wage will put smiles on the faces of Nigerian workers.
According to him â€œThe issue of Minimum wage is under process. The FG approved theJustice Alfa Belgore Panel which has Labour, employers and government as members.
â€œWe have been divided into sub committees and have been working and it is for the committees to round off their assignments. I asked them to round off early next year so that we can move on.
The Minister said that â€œwe want to change from minimum wage to living wage, that is a salary that can allow people to live a purposeful life. We also want to institutionalize it so that we do not need to be going round it every time.
Speaking on deregulation, the Minister said that â€œI do not think the fear of deregulation so to speak, is the cause of the current fuel scarcity.
â€œI think some people are playing games with the citizens of this country. The usual games they play at the end of every year and certain bottlenecks like the tanker drivers issue and distribution which had all been resolved.
â€œThere is enough fuel to go round. That is why the Federal Government wants to implement a reform of the downstream sector in the first place. For the past 25 years, government has been trying to do this but for these bottlenecks. Now, Mr. President has said that he will do it.
â€œHe will do it, not that he is not aware of some temporary hardship, but in the long run, it will be in the best interest of this country.
â€œThe fuel shortage will actually end the moment we tidy up the conflict in the distribution process. There are lots of fuel on the high sea, depots and so on. Fuel is available, so why donâ€™t they distribute it properly.
â€What we have decided at the Federal level is to implement the very urgent, massive programme for skill development and acquisition throughout Nigeria. This type of skill acquisition centre will be established all over the country.. It is a new programme to build on old ones.
â€œThe essence is to make our people acquire additional skills, new skills that will make them employable. We have many people who are unemployed even graduates. Other than government work, what do you want somebody with a Ph.D to do? You have to additional skills
â€œWe want to emphasize technical issues like mechatronics, technical training, welding technology, building technology and so on. Whatever you study in school or level of education, you have to key-in and acquire some skills which will enable you to be employable. ICT is also top on the agenda.
â€œWe are doing this not only as ministry of labour, we have established synergies and partnership with other ministries. Our ICT programme for instance is being powered and funded through the NCC.
â€œThe level of activities going on in Ondo State now also called for a proactive measure because the state has been producing too many graduates. The governor said his volunteer scheme was introduced to mop up the excess jobless youths in the state.
â€œWe will also partner with the state government to ensure that this is done very quickly.
The Minister said that the Skill Acquisition project will cost about N25m and that seven of them exist in the country.
Earlier, at the Courtesy visit the Minister said that next year the Ministry and the state government would organize the first Ondo state Diplomatic Forum and that over fifty Ambassadors are expected to grace the occasion.
He promised to work with the governor despite belonging to different political parties for the development of the state and the people.
The Governor Dr MimikoÂ said that the state government would in the next four year employ over 5000 person under its Social Security Scheme launched few days ago in which 1000 Volunteers were engaged.
Dr Mimiko pointed out that the Social Security Scheme would be a model in the country.