SDP Insists States Can Pay N30,000 Minimum Wage Without Downsizing

The Social Democratic Party(SDP) has said that state governments are buoyant enough to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage demanded by Nigerian workers without resorting to downsizing.

The party stated this following the declaration of Nigerian governors on Wednesday that they may have to resort to mass sack of workers to be able to pay the above sum agreed upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Federal and state government last week.

It may be recalled that the State governors and the Federal Government had been engaging in trilateral negotiations along with the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) to negotiate for a new living wage for the Nigerian workers in a bid to improve their working conditions.

At the end of the long drawn negotiations,the Federal along with the State Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress had arrived at a minimum wage of N30,000, in a reluctant agreement.

However, despite the agreement, the state governors in a communique issued by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari after an emergency meeting in Abuja Wednesday night said that they would not be able to pay the minimum wage without mass- sacking of workers in some states.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alfa Mohammed, the SDP stated that it is ridiculous and sad that Nigerian governors who engage in unnecessary wasteful spendings cannot pay its productive workers what they rightly deserved.

“It is a clear fact that the Nigerian workers are one of the least paid in Africa if not the world,despite their unwavering productivity and commitment to duty and development of the nation.

“It is a sad fact that many states government owed worker’s salaries for several months,despite their display of mindbogling financial recklessness and ostentatious profligacy.This has led to increased frustrations and needless deaths for some of the workers and may result to corruption on the part of the workers.”

The party which further frowned at the crass insensitivity to the plight of the Nigerian workers by the government of the day, condemned the increase reluctance of government to yield to the demands that will better the lots of its workers’ conditions thereby boosting their productivity.

“We are taken aback by the flagrant delay in response to their demands.There is no justification whatsoever not to pay the N30,000 minimum wage for the workers,even though this cannot be equated to the living wages in the face of the present economic hardship in the country.

Government has the capacity to pay the wage without any pressures on its finance.Government at all level need to put in place policies that will plug out all the financial loopholes or leakages of its resources so as to make more funds available.Government officials,most especially the state governors need to stop the unnecessary charter of aircraft at the expense of the nations taxpayers.”

Insisting that the state governors are in a good position to meet the demand of the workers, the SDP advocated for a drastic reduction in the security votes allocated to governors as well as the long and undue convoys of our governors to reduce wastage of public funds.

“All unjustifiable, wasteful foreign trips by state government functionaries, be it for medical or business related, must be curtailed or find viable and cost effective alternatives if at all there is need for such.

“In the face of the increasing financial obligations of many states and the need to pay its workers,states must improve on their internally generated revenues. They need to also diversify their economic base and boost the capacity of its work force in order to enhance productivity.

“We want to state categorically, against this backdrop that state governments must wake up from their slumber and desist from over dependence on Federal Goverment allocations.

“Emphatically, they should learn to invest in profitable ventures that will bring regular revenues to states’ purse.”

Among others, the party advocated that state government should embark on reduction and redirection of redundant staff to productive sectors as well as engage in training and empowerment programmes for staff to become sustainably productive and desist from duplication of political appointees and cut down on their allowances to reduce cost of governance.

The statement urge all state governments to support the Social Democratic Party(SDP) in its quest for devolution of power that will make people in the grassroots the key focus of government as well as improve service delivery to states and local governments.

While commending the maturity and resilience of the Nigerian workers in the face of government’s intimidation and indifference in the past years, the SDP maintained that the state government can pay workers the minimum wage without resorting to rationalization of its workforce in view of the funds at their disposal presently.

This was as it called on the federal and state government to without delay pay the N 30,000 minimum wage to the Nigerian workers to avert any possible labour unrest.

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