April 24, 2024

Minimum Wage: NAAT proposes N350,000

Journalists to engage ministry, SSANU, NAAT on withheld varsity workers' salary

— As FG plans to make skill acquisition compulsory for primary, secondary schools

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

AS the Tripartite Committee of the National Minimum Wage prepares to release the harmonised recommendation for the new minimum wage expected to take effect from May, the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, on Wednesday, proposed N350,000 as the new living wage.

NAAT based its recommendation on the present economic situation in the country occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy, high inflationary rate and the attendant hardship.

This is as the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has hinted that the federal government will soon introduce the policy that will make skill acquisition compulsory for primary and secondary schools.

The Minister said that NAAT is very important the present education curriculum, pointing out that the present world is driven by technology which is used to solve problems.

The Minister dropped the hint while declaring open the NAAT’s National Delegate Conference in Abuja.

Prof. Mamman, who described NAAT as being pivotal and at the centre of the nation’s development, disclosed that, “The Federal Government is planning to bring skills education in primary and secondary schools.”

READ ALSO: National self-deception on minimum wage increase

In his welcome address at the 5th National Delegate Conference, NDC, in University of Abuja, the President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, said what workers need should be a living wage that should take care of the immediate needs.

The theme of the conference is, “Technology, a recipe for national development and socioeconomic growth in the 21st century: the Nigeria quest for a better tomorrow.”

While differentiating between minimum wage and living wage, Comrade Nwokoma said, “Nigeria must transcend the concept of a mere minimum wage to embrace the notion of a living wage, commensurate with the rising cost of living.

“Comparatively, other African countries have made strides in this regard, recognizing the fundamental right of workers to earn wages that afford them dignity and a standard of living.

“According to the Wisevoter report, Seychelles boasts the highest estimated gross monthly wage in Africa, standing at $465.4, while the South Africa’s monthly wage stands at $240. The naira equivalent of the wages of these countries would clearly depict the sorry state of the Nigerian worker.

“On this note, I proposed a minimum of Three Hundred of Fifty Thousand Naira (N350, 000) for the Nigeria worker as monthly wage.”

Nwokoma, who chronicled the achievements of leadership in the past four years, said that he encountered persistent challenges despite notable achievements.

He mentioned the issue of CONTISS 14 and 15 circular delays as one of the challenges his leadership had encountered.

He said, “Despite concerted efforts, the release of circulars for CONTISS 14 and 15 remained elusive, hampering the career progression of our members. To address this, we will intensify advocacy efforts, engaging relevant stakeholders and leveraging all available channels to expedite the release of these crucial circulars in the next dispensation of our leadership. It is a task that must be achieved.”

On the lingering FGN/NAAT 2009 Agreement, Comrade Nwokoma said, “The lingering non-completion of the FGN/NAAT 2009 Agreement posed a significant hurdle. Despite collaborative efforts with sister unions, unresolved issues persisted, hindering the full realization of the agreement’s provisions. current leadership pledges to redouble efforts, fostering stronger alliances with sister unions and employing strategic negotiation tactics to drive progress towards a satisfactory resolution.”

Speaking on the backlog salary payments, NAAT said, “The non-payment of backlog salaries remained a pressing concern, impacting the financial stability of our members and causing disaffection and low morale.

“To address this challenge, the leadership in the next dispensation will pursue proactive measures, including dialogue with relevant authorities, recourse to necessary action within the ambit of the law, and sustained advocacy to ensure the prompt and fair resolution of outstanding salary arrears, prioriazing welfare of members.

Poor State of Roads:

“The dilapidated state of roads nationwide remains a glaring reflection of our infrastructure deficit. Inadequate road networks not only impede economic activities but also pose significant risks to safety and livelihoods. Urgent interventions are imperative to address this pressing infrastructure challenge.

“In light of these realities, the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) pledges unwavering commitment to advocacy, dialogue, and appropriate action towards addressing these multifaceted challenges.

“Together, let us strive for a Nigeria where education in technology thrives, security prevails, the economy flourishes, and infrastructure serves as a catalyst for development and prosperity.”

He said as the country embarked on the journey towards harnessing technology for national development and socioeconomic growth, the citizens should remain steadfast in their commitment to innovation, collaboration, and progress.

“Together, we possess the power to shape al brighter future for Nigeria, leveraging technology as a catalyst for transformation. I therefore urge each delegate to actively engage in robust discussions, share insights, and forge pathways towards a better tomorrow as reflected in the theme of the conference.”