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Minimum Wage: FG begs Labour to settle for what won’t undermine economy, lead to job losses

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Minister of Information and National Orientation, @HMMohammedIdris, has urged Organised Labour to settle for a national minimum wage that will not undermine the national economy and lead to mass retrenchment of workers.

Idris who appealed while declaring open the 2024 Synod of the Charismatic Bishops Conference of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, emphasized the need for a realistic and sustainable wage system that balances workers’ needs with the country’s economic realities.

He acknowledged the government’s commitment to reviewing the minimum wage but cautioned against demands that could harm the economy.

Idris highlighted the government’s efforts to reduce the cost of living and increase Nigerians’ purchasing power through programs like the Presidential CNG initiative, which aims to cut transportation costs by 50%.

He said: “As I have repeatedly said, the Federal Government is not opposed to the increase of wages for Nigerian Workers but we keep on advocating for a realistic and sustainable wage system for the workers – a wage system that will not undermine the economy, lead to mass retrenchment of workers and jeopardize the welfare of about 200 million Nigerians.

“We want the Labour Unions to understand that the relief that Nigerians are expecting, and that they fully deserve, will not come only in the form of an increase in wages.

“It will also come as efforts to reduce the cost of living and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of Nigerians. And this is where programs like the Presidential CNG initiative come in. By replacing or complementing petrol usage with CNG, that program alone will cut transportation costs by as much as 50 percent.”

The minister appealed to the clergy to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision for Nigeria’s renaissance and to pray for wisdom and guidance as the country navigates its current challenges.

“Indeed, the Church, throughout our nation’s history, has been a steadfast partner to the government in championing social causes and the provision of essential social services such as hospitals and schools, as well as the inculcation of values in our citizens.

“Even as we go through the temporary but necessary hardship, the President is not resting on his oars. He is determined to ensure that as many relief and palliative measures as possible are rolled out for the benefit of every segment of the Nigerian population.

“Now, this is where you, as Clergy, as deeply respected religious leaders and influential voices, come in. As a Government, we need your support, your advice, and your feedback.

“Very importantly also we need you to be aware of the efforts being made, and the challenges being faced, so that you can help us communicate these to your congregations and the general public.”

Noting that President Tinubu stepped into power at the most challenging time for Nigeria, Idris said that the president is working assiduously to ensure sustainable development across the country.

He said: “There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mr. President stepped up with a great sense of courage and responsibility. In the last year he has been implementing crucial and comprehensive reforms aimed at steering our country back onto the path of growth, prosperity, and sustainable development.

“President Tinubu has never shied away from acknowledging the reality of these pains. In his Democracy Day address delivered to the nation just this morning, President Tinubu summed it up very aptly: “The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth.

“There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship. Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay, and compensation for his endeavour and labour.”

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