Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party presidential has criticised the Presidency’s denial of the report that President Buhari’s earlier pledge to pay the new minimum wage of ₦30,000 agreed with the Nigerian Labour Congress and other labour affiliates in a signed communiqué.
“This approbation and reprobation is characteristic of the Buhari administration and is evidence of the lack of leadership at the very top that is putting our economy in peril. “, he said. He blamed what he described as a pattern of inconsistency of this administration, which has led investors to divest from the economy.
“Just two weeks ago, two of the world’s largest banks, HSBC and UBS, pulled out of Nigeria citing lack of policy stability as their reason. Procter and Gamble gave this same reason when they pulled out last year. In the span of the three years that this administration has been in office, more than 500 companies have pulled out of Nigeria for similar reasons. Nigeria under President Buhari has become synonymous with policy flip -flopping.
A government is only as reliable as its word and if its word is not reliable then nothing else about the government will be stable. This is why Nigeria suffered from a recession under this administration and is right now at risk of another recession.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, we urge the Buhari administration to note that Nigerian workers are the goose that lays the golden egg that top members of this government are enjoying to the detriment of those laying the egg.
“We are aware that both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, despite living and feeding at the public expense, collect a hardship allowance of 50 per cent of their annual basic salary, whereas, the long suffering Nigerian workers, who are the main sufferers of the hardship caused by the incompetence of this administration, do not have any hardship allowance and are expected to live on the unliveable minimum wage of the Buhari government.
It is a testament to how badly we have treated our workforce over the last three years that Nigeria was officially declared the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Poverty Clock and the World Economic Forum.
We can only change this by paying our workers a living wage as opposed to the starvation wages now paid to them by the Buhari administration.
We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to keep faith with the agreement his government freely reached with labour and affirm the new minimum wage.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the Presidency has frowned at the misinterpretation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s remarks when he received the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage from the committee’s chairman, Ama Pepple, on Tuesday.
The agency quoted a presidential source, who preferred not to be named, said the president did not endorse N30,000 as proposed by committee as being reported by some sections of the media.
He, however, stated that President Buhari had expressed his commitment to ensuring the implementation of a new National Minimum Wage.
“But the president’s speech at the event was immediately made available to the media and nowhere indicated that the president endorsed N30,000 Minimum wage.
“It is not the duty of the president only to endorse a new national minimum wage. The process involves the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Assembly.
“It is imperative for us to always avoid misinterpreting a written speech,’’ he added.
At the submission of the report of the Tripartite Committee that negotiated a new minimum wage with labour and other stakeholders, President Buhari pledged that the Federal Government would soon transmit an Executive bill (on National Minimum Wage) to the National Assembly for its passage within the shortest possible time.