November 23, 2023

MINILS canvasses for wage-led reform

MINILS canvasses for wage-led reform

By Victor AhiumaYoung

THE Director-General of  Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, MINILS, Ilorin Issa Aremu, has commended  President Bola Tinubu for  his avowed commitment to pay adequate living wages as a growth strategy to drive  economic recovery, eradicate poverty and promote national prosperity. 

Aremu  spoke at the concluded 7th National Policy Dialogue on “Living Wages and Corruption in Nigeria”, in Abuja, organized by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, ACAN, the training arm of ICPC, in collaboration with Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, with support of  MacArthur Foundation. 

The Minister of labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, declared the Policy Dialogue open. Moderating  the panel of discussants on the policy dialogue, Aremu said Nigeria must urgently resolve the problem of low pay  in order to fight  corruption in the public service.

He observed that the collapse of real wage  as a result of high inflation, currency  devaluation and high cost of living had produced  “a new class of working poor” and “even working beggars” who could hardly resist the temptation of graft.

The Director General therefore called for “a comprehensive  package of monetary and non- wage benefits”  to ensure what he called  “ an ease of work and  ease of living” just “as in ease of doing business”. 

According to him, the critical success factor for the 8-point agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is “well remunerated productive work force”. 

“Labour creates sustainable wealth, but that is if the wealth is not denied them through miserable low pay and unpaid minimum pay that do not guarantee even minimum living and minimum productivity in the first instance,” Aremu said.

While commending the commitment of President Tinubu on the imperative of living wages, the  Director General urged the Leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, to constructively  engage the Federal government to ensure decent work, secured, productive and well paid jobs. 

“Given President Tinubu’s loud commitment to living wage during  2023 campaign, in his  2023 May Day  and at the recent Cabinet Retreat, “Living Wage” could very well be the 9th point item of the Renewed Hope agenda, which should excite organized labour,” Aremu noted.  

The keynote speaker, Professor Dafe Otobo at the dialogue stated that to effectively address living wages and corruption in Nigeria, it was important for government to focus on provision of basic amenities and enabling environment for its citizens.