Mr Issa Aremu, the Director-General of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, has hailed President Bola Tinubu for the “categorical presidential commitment” to a new national minimum and living wage in 2024.
In his reaction to the New Year broadcast of the president in a statement he issued on Monday in Ilorin, Aremu commended Tinubu for his commitment to wage-led growth strategy, economic recovery and poverty eradication through payment of adequate living wages in 2024.
He noted that in the president’s New Year address to the nation, Tinubu disclosed that “material well-being of the poor, the most vulnerable and the working people shall not be neglected”.
He lauded the initiative of the president to implement a new national living wage for our industrious workers of Nigeria.
According director-generals on point to declare wage improvement as “not only good economics” but as “a morally and politically correct thing to do”.
The director-general called on states and local government councils, employers of labour and organised labour to align with the vision of Tinubu in making 2024 a year of mass secured, productive, decent work in conditions of human dignity.
This, he said, also included healthy environment, with negotiated adequate promptly paid minimum and living wages.
He decried what he called a state of total collapse of wage income due to low devalued and delayed salary payment that has turned workers into what he called “ working beggars” as distinct from “dignified value adding work force”.
Aremu stressed that 2024 expected tripartite wage negotiations would be the 6th of such national minimum wage review since 1981 (N125); 1990 (N250); 2000 (N5,500); 2011 (N18,000) and 2018 (N30,000).
He noted that it was remarkable that the president commendably acknowledged the reality of high costs of living and inflation caused by inevitable petroleum subsidy removal.
He added that the president has rightly set the stage for robust constructive collective bargaining for new wage review in line with Nigeria’s labour laws and relevant conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The director-general observed that the pronouncement on wage improvement further pointed to Tinubu’s labour-friendly disposition dated to his presidential campaign council in which he dedicated a Directorate to labour, the only Presidential candidate to do so.
He pointed out that the bane of Nigeria’s development process involved recent times was non-appreciation of human resources as the critical factor of sustainable national development.
“Labour truly creates national wealth but labour must be promptly well paid, motivated, assured of income security after retirement as well as disciplined and skilled through training and retraining,” he said.
He submitted that the success of the Renewed Hope 8-point Agenda dealing with poverty eradication, economic growth, job creation and fighting corruption depend on motivated millions of workers in formal and informal sectors, private and public sectors.
Aremu also commended the 10th National Assembly leadership for improving on the budget of the “premier Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment”.
He added that budgetary allocations must tally with the vision of the President on combating the scourge of youth unemployment and under-employment.
The director-general also commended the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, for her bold sanctions against private companies and employers that disregarded occupational health and safety standards of workers in the world of work in 2023.
He therefore promised labour education on occupational health and safely in MINILS 2024 training calendar.