…cronyism, ethnicity, religion deflate effort to redeem Nigeria – – – Kaigama
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu on Thursday assured Nigerian workers that implementation of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 will commence soon.
President Buhari has also asked state government and employers in the private sector to work towards providing a living wage for their workers.
Speaking at the 11th Triennial Delegates Conference of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, of Nigeria, the President who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha enthused that the nation’s economy was expected to grow by 2.7 percent in 2019 as a result of several reforms embarked upon by the government.
President Buhari urged state government and the private sector to implement the minimum wage as a way of encouraging workers to contribute to the development of the country, adding that his government will continue to pay particular attention to the welfare of workers.
Stressing that giant efforts had been made in building solid foundation for the country since he took in 2015, he said, “these efforts have begun to yield results. The Economy is making a steady progress and our GDP is expected to grow by 2.7 percent the year. Our external reserve have risen to $45 billion and can finance a number of our foreign commitments.
“With the steps taken to integrate rural economies to the national grid, provide credits and inputs to rural farmers and micro-businesses as well as providing the enabling environment for business in Nigeria, our people will be liberated from the shackles of poverty.
“We will try to create 10 million jobs yearly to continue to boost our economy and make life better for our people.
“Our Government will continue to improve on out New Development Plans and initiatives. We will concentrate on Agriculture, Education, Power and other infrastructure, Manufacturing and social intervention schemes. We will promote good governance and fight corruption to a stand still.
“This Government will continue to build institutions and machineries to fight corruption. If we don’t kill corruption now, we will not have a country to handover to our unborn generation. Hence the need for everyone to be involved in this fight to finish.
“My administration believes in the welfare of workers and that is why we have signed the Minimum Wage bill into law and implementation is underway. l employ both the state governments and the private sector to give their workers a decent living wage to encourage workers to contribute more to our economy.
“The Federal Government acknowledges the collaborative support it has received from the Labour Union, especially the TUC, since the inception of this Administration. Members of this Union participated actively in developing the drafting of the various policy documents that have led to the development of roadmaps in the Country.
“Members of the Union are also involved in several aspects of the implementation of the road maps. It is the belief of Government that the synergy and collaboration will be strengthened as we move forward.
“The Executive arm of government is committed to having a smooth and good working relationship with the Labour Unions in Nigeria as we go higher.”
He expressed concern over the level of insecurity in the country, but assured that the government was working hard to defeat all acts of insecurity in the country including terrorism, kidnapping as well as farmer/herders clashes.
The President who stated that the security challenges in the country was not insurmountable, assured that his government remained committed to making Nigeria a better place and is “mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and on the road to prosperity.
“The Security challenges we are currently facing are not unsurmountable. I can report that we are meeting these challenges with much greater support to the security forces in terms of funding equipment and improved local intellegence.
“We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve. I can assure you that we will win the war against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and farmers-headers clashes.”
In his address, President of the TUC, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama said the story of Nigeria has degenerated to the level of anarchy and absurdity as hardly a day passes without new killings through assassination, kidnapping, and suicide bombing.
Kaigama said the level of insecurity appeared to have overwhelmed the nation’s security forces, adding that “nowhere is safe now including the home state of the President and the Minister of Defence.”
The TUC boss called on leaders in the country to do the needful, stressing that their primary responsibility was to protect lives and secure property of the citizens.
He lamented that the Nigerian economy was in dire strait, adding, “regrettably, those who should manage it are not showing promising signs on how to fix it. Nigeria’s debt profile is over N24.3 trillion. It was reported recently that government wants to borrow more.
“Borrowing in itself is not a bad thing, the issue is what do you borrow for? Countries borrow for capital projects and not to pay salaries. If we cannot bequeath to our children why burden them with crazy debt? It is irresponsible of any parent to do such.
“Comrades, why can’t we know the number of barrels of Crude we refine? Is it a rocket science to publish how much we make from oil, why should individuals mine our solid minerals in Zamfara, Plateau etc? With what the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, NIPOST, NNPC, NIMASA, NAPIMS and the monies recovered by EFCC and ICPC, Nigeria should not be borrowing.”
On unemployment, he said,” Comrades, the danger posed by unemployment and poverty to our peaceful existence and development is glaring by everyone to see.”
Kaigama also expressed concern over the level of corruption in the country, pointing out that perpetrators of corruption were divising new tactics daily to evade being caught while cronyism, ethnicity and religion has deflated efforts to redeem the country.
He said, “The history of corruption in our country is absurd. The more you fight, the more perpetrators device new means. They can divert anything but cannot ‘divert’ the country out of poverty.
“Cronyism, ethnicity and religion most times deflate the effort to redeem the country. There is no sincerity of purpose in the struggles. The best form of governance would abhor corruption same way a corrupt administration would not be interested in promoting good governance. ”
He asked government to improve on the nation’s operating environment to ensure the smooth running of the economy, pointing out that the manufacturing sector has not made any significant progress in the first quarters of 2019.
He maintained that further decline in the components that makes economies viable can lead to further job losses and increase poverty in the country, adding that the country cannot continue to watch politicians midwife the nation’s national development planning into extinction.
According to him, “How can we talk about development when national budgets are passed in the middle of the year? It will definitely have a consequential effect on the national economy and investors’ interest. If we cannot follow laudable policies, then we cannot be said to have begun our pursuit for a better society.
The delegates conference is expected to produce a new leadership for the Congress.