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The Minimum Wage conundrum and impending maximum trouble. By Lai Gidado

 The Minimum Wage conundrum and impending maximum trouble

 

Abeni Aso-Oke
Abeni Aso-Oke

I was just going through the social media being my usual practice in the evening after my Mogreeb prayer before Ishai and I stumbled on a post from a septuagenarian, a retired Federal Civil Servant.

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The post read; Even 500,000 Naira as minimum wage can not solve our problems, adding that increase in minimum wage would only bring maximum trouble.

I wanted to learn more, I quickly called this retired Engineer and the following conversations ensued; “Good evening Sir, he responded with joy, you know elderly people love talking, calling him and asking question is a thing of joy to him.

I continued; “Sir, I just read your post that even the sum of 500,000 Naira minimum wage would bring maximum trouble? He laughed and said, Lai, what we need now is increase in productivity, let’s go back to till the land, let’s bring back industries and be productive not increase in Salary. Once Salaries are increased, prices of consumables would go up by 500 percent.

“My dear, with our present situation where we can not boast of a single industry in some states, I would have expected our senators to think of the way forward instead of giving free money to the boys.
Each Senator should use their Constituency projects money to build an industry in their constituencies which would serve as an employment opportunity to the unemployed youths.

The Rep members too, should do same and see what would happen in six months.
I assure you, there would be massive employment of our young ones.
But it’s unfortunate, that greed would not allow our political leaders to think right.

The love for what we don’t need would not make we the citizens to think right.

“Let me tell you Lai, we were all more comfortable financially when salaries were just 3 digits for civil servants and four digits for political office holders”.

Yes. Come to think of it. I expect our labour leaders to know that, If salaries are increased, farmers would increase prices of their products, transporters would increase prices of their services, market women would increase prices of their goods, like wise all other service providers would jack up prices of their services and by the way what is the percentage of the civil servants population that is going to create a big mess for our total population?

Instead of increase in salary and wages.
I would have expected the labour leaders to call for the following;
* Reduce price of Petroleum products
* Reduce price of food items. Government at all levels should get involved in supply of food items like, Rice, Beans, yam grains and other essential commodities.
*Reduction in prices of farm tools, seedlings and other farmers needs.
* Government should give special aids to farmers not loans, because all the anchor borrowers loan between 2017 and 2022 fell on wrong hands not even a single farmer benefited.
* Political office holders from presidency downward should cut their salaries and allowances by 50%.

The Economic melt down that is now given us sleepless nights has started over 20 years ago, but we were all living in fools paradise.
What is the job of a senator that is earning direct wages of about N2million per month? What is the job of House of Representatives members earning huge salaries?

“We need to have a rethink about our political structure. Do we have the resources to cater for a bicameral legislative house?
Do we have the resources to cater for State and local government legislatures simultaneously? No.

Nigeria has remained a consumer nation for well over thirty years now. All industries gone. Gone are the days when we used to export Cocoa in tones to Europe and America.
Gone are the days when we export cotton and we have cotton pyramid in Sokoto, groundnut pyramid in Kano and lorry loads of palm kernel from Enugu and Onitsha.

There should be an immediate end to farmers and herders clashes across the nation if there must be massive food production.

“When we were growing up, our parents rear local cows called “Erinla” in Yoruba land, the Western Nigeria government had cows in ranches at farm settlements like Erinfun in Ado Ekiti, Mariwo in present day Ifedore local government in Ondo State, Saki and Eruwa in Oyo State. What happened to those cattle ranches? Government should as a matter of importance revisit the farm settlements and bring them back to live.

In those days there was no farmers and herders crisis.

“Our State governments should as a matter of urgency, return those ranches quickly and give aids to genuine farmers, not loans.

Government should think of ways to help our youths by encouraging small scale industries like Tomato Paste industry, tooth pick industry, Shoe making industry and food packaging industry, organic fruit juice industry to reduce wastage.

Above are my little advise to both the rulers and the ruled. Please pardon me for using rulers, we don’t have leaders yet. Leaders don’t aquire wealth, leaders don’t aquire properties.

  Our leaders should not forget We need Security in Nigeria. Insecurity is a serious menace that is calling for urgent attention in our land.

God bless Nigeria.

Lai Gidado a media consultant, publisher of Ebony Herald International Magazine and Abuja Herald newspaper writes from Bwari Abuja Nigeria.

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