Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu are pushing for N50,000 as the new minimum wage in Nigeria.
The extant minimum wage is N18, 000.
Saraki has advised the Presidency to immediately constitute a panel consisting of stakeholders to work on demands of Nigerian workers for increased wages and arrears of pension, promotion and allowances.
Similarly, Ekweremadu said the current minimum wage is no longer realistic given the hyper-inflation in the country, which he said had made it difficult for majority of Nigerian workers to afford the basic needs of life.
Saraki, who spoke at the Eagles Square in Abuja, venue of the 2017 May Day celebration, yesterday, said if workers had allowed the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, to address them, he would have announced some plans government had for them.
He, however, said government needs to quickly move to address all the grievances of workers and expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to play its part in ensuring that the workers get their dues.
On his part, Ekweremadu felicitated with the workers but admitted “the take-home pay can no longer take the workers home. Where it does, it cannot keep their homes happy because they can hardly afford a bag of rice, let alone pay school fees, and foot other basic bills.”
In Kaduna, Senator Shehu Sani canvassed a new minimum wage should be $300, which is about N145,000.
Sani said Nigerian workers deserve to live better than they are currently living as “the country is rich enough to comfortably pay them well, but politicians and other public office holders have been stealing monies that would have been used to achieve that long ago.”
From Rivers State, Governor Nyesom Wike told workers his government has placed priority on their welfare and urged organised labour to be united.
The governor gave the charge during the Workers’ Day celebration, which was held at Yakubu Gowon Stadium, in Port Harcourt., the state’s capital.
Wike, who was represented by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Kenneth Kobani, assured the state government would continue to pay the salaries of workers, and added that they deserved their wages. “I did hear a number of you talk about disunity in the labour union. So, when you come here and sing about solidarity and unity, you must act it, you must practise it. It is only when you do that, that labour organisations and government will take your aspirations and request seriously,” Wike told the Nigeria Labour Congress.