Minimum Wage: Ex-Imo Commissioner Accuses Labour Of Insensitivity

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By MBACHU GODWIN, Abuja

Former Imo Commissioner of Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) and Pensions, Prof Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe has described the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) demand of 250,000 living wages for Nigerian workers as unrealistic and not sustainable.

Ajumbe also stated that the 62, 000 Naira already proposed by the Federal government to Labour cannot be sustained by the state governments which according to him has no revenue to pay such lofty amount.

The former state chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party, ANPP noted that the federal and state governments should not be stampeded into accepting what it knows it can’t pay , warning that enforcing such forced agreement of 62,000 minimum wage will lead to inflation and job losses.

Speaking to Journalists , Prof Ajumbe noted that instead of focusing on salary increase, labour should prioritize the interest of Nigerians by ensuring that Ajeokuta steel company and the refineries are functional and producing as well as good Governance and holding government to account.

Ajumbe, a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Chided labour for their constant protest and salary increment said Labour should channel it’s energy and strength in protesting against the high level of corruption in the country, citing the Calabar coastal road high way project where trillions of Naira has been allegedly siphoned .

He noted that Labour should rise above self interest of salary increase and fight for the interest of vulnerable Nigerians by holding government at all levels to account and press for good governance and dividends of democracy.

” The government should not be pushed to accept what they know they cannot handle, how many states can pay, how much is their IGR that can pay. If you use all the money for salary, then there will be no infrastructure or development, I was the Commissioner for IGR , it will be difficult for states to pay 62,000 Naira, it will create higher inflation and job losses. The price of goods will go up, house rent will increase and civil servants I’ll go to their villages , what about the artisans that are not covered, does it mean that the private sector will not pay it it will lead to job loss which is not good. Let me ask the labour president how much is he paying his driver, gateman and cook. Labour should concentrate more on issues that will make the government cut down corruption .

” What has labour done on government officials siphoning money, trillions of Naira spent on Calabar coastal highway, when members of National Assembly were given SUV bullet proof cars what did labour say, there are so many things labour would have helped us to fight but they did not. Govs should not be stampeded to accept what they know they cannot pay. They should come to compromise, labour should fight for reviving Ajeokuta and our refineries, it is not only salary or strike. Where is the money to pay, if you have money will you borrow, this is where labour should fight “

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