June 10, 2024

MINIMUM WAGE: Increment must reflect inflation rate, CSOs tell Tinubu


By Dickson Omobola

A group of civil society organisations has urged President Bola Tinubu to increase workers’ minimum wage to reflect the inflation rate.

The groups also called for deduction in the salaries and allowances of political office holders, saying that would free resources for development.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, National Coordinator of Take It Back Movement, Sanyaolu Juwon, who spoke on behalf of the groups, lamented that Nigeria’s headline inflation had increased to 33.7 per cent, noting that it was the highest in three decades.

Juwon also said food inflation was at 40.5 per cent, stressing that Nigeria was in a mess because of the pro-market economic choices of the President.

His words: “By removing fuel subsidy and raising fuel price and by devaluing the naira, Tinubu plunged Nigeria’s economy which was still struggling from the mismanagement under Buhari’s eight years rule, into an unprecedented crisis from which it may take years to recover.

“As a result of these ruinous policies, inflation rose dramatically thereby plunging workers and poor Nigerians into an unprecedented cost of living crisis. At the same time, the policies have led to several local and multinational industries and companies closing shop, thereby leading to job losses.

“What this situation shows is that the neo-liberal economic policies favoured by Tinubu are not working and should be discarded. For instance, just few days ago, Tinubu’s economic team released a document where they admitted that not only has subsidy payment on crude oil returned but that now, the amount that subsidy will cost Nigeria by December of this year will, at an estimated N5.4 trillion, be nearly twice the figure for last year.

“So what this state of affairs means is that the same problem that President Tinubu ostensibly wanted to solve by removing subsidy thereby plunging Nigerian people into a state of misery and hunger has now returned two-fold. It also means that all our suffering over the past year has been for nothing.”

On their demands, he said: “End to hardship; end to fee hike, study grants not loans; end insecurity, police brutality and kidnapping; no to illegal demolition/forced eviction. Tinubu should reverse fuel price and electricity tariff hikes now. There should be an increase in the minimum wage to reflect the rate of inflation and a 50 per cent slash in the salaries and allowances of political office holders to free resources for development.

“We call for a comprehensive social protection programme for informal workers, free healthcare for vulnerable groups, the elderly over 65 years, children under seven years and pregnant women as well as contributory pensions for informal workers.

“We call for an end to attacks on press freedom. Release all detained journalists and bloggers and release of all political detainees and recall all victimized activists, including all #EndSARS detainees.”