Ndubuaku: Nigerians Need an All-Inclusive Government, Not a Secret Society

Ndubuaku: Nigerians Need an All-Inclusive Government, Not a Secret Society
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Ndubuaku: Nigerians Need an All-Inclusive Government, Not a Secret Society

Theophilus Ndubuaku, Head, Nigeria Labour Congress Political Wing, has accused the federal government of lack of transparency and inclusivity in issues of national welfare, especially regarding the issue of a new minimum wage.

Ndubuaku, in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, highlighted the importance of an inclusive government that prioritises national welfare over secretive decision-making.

He also stated the organised labour’s readiness to scrutinise the government’s ‘unimportant’ budget priorities, if they keep claiming inability to afford the union’s demand.

“The point is that we are negotiating and in negotiation, you don’t fix your mind on something in particular. They come with issues and say this is what we can afford and this is why we can afford it. Now, how many drivers will take 60,000 or 70,000 as salaries as company drivers? The government came and said the subsidy is gone. Since the subsidy is gone, how much is the government making from the subsidy? You saw what they did to the naira, how much is the government making?

“We need an inclusive government and not a secret organization or society. If you are saying you cannot pay a particular amount, then we will bring you down to the point of your priorities and tell you how much you are budgeting for things that should not be national priorities at this time. Don’t forget that the minimum should put some life into the system because when you pay minimum wage, people will spend money to buy things and the money will trickle down.”

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Ndubuaku also cited the global standard for minimum wage as two dollars per day. Highlighting the stark reality faced by many Nigerians, labour leaders emphasised that earning below 540,000 naira per month equates to living below the minimum wage and with 133 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty, he stressed the need for urgent government intervention.

He also said there is need to see some level of seriousness on the part of the government in the course of negotiation with the organised labour.

“The global standard for minimum wage is two dollars and we on the labour side, the standard is to compute the minimum wage based on a family of two parents and four dependents and that is six people. If the global standard is two dollars, that means for a family of six, they are to get the minimum of twelve dollar per day, which is three hundred and sixty dollars per month. When you multiply that by one thousand, five hundred naira, you get five hundred and forty thousand naira. So, if you are earning as a family and earning below 540,000 naira, you are living below minimum wage. They are talking about affordability and availability of funds but we also need to see the seriousness on the side of the government. When you hear that 133 million Nigerians are within multidimensional poverty, something needs to be done. We need to see seriousness from the government. You cannot continue to do something the same way and expect a different result.

“There should be some form of emergency measures. Now that we have raised this level of discus on the minimum wage, it is bringing out a lot of things and I think that the government should be a little more serious. We need an inclusive government that brings in the people and not one that is secretive. We agreed that we will be involved in issues like the CNG programs but the government has not involved us. They have gone ahead to do things and we don’t even know what is going on. If they are saying 100,000 naira, compare that to the 540,000 that an average family needs to live above the poverty line. So, I don’t know where the figure is coming from but let them bring what they have on the table and then we will move forward and they will tell why they cannot pay and what they are doing to make sure they pull Nigerians out of poverty.”

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Chioma Kalu

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