A former governor of Edo, Adams Oshiomhole, says the federal government’s proposal to implement a new minimum wage is not a political gimmick to win the 2019 general elections.
Mr. Oshiomhole said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the 26th convocation lecture of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu.
The title of the lecture was “Crisis of Governance, Governance of Crisis: The Role of Education in Nibbling Governance Crisis in Nigeria.’’
According to the former governor, the government has said it will begin implementation of workers minimum wage by the third quarter of 2018.
Mr. Oshiomhole, who is also a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), said the government’s pronouncement on the minimum wage “is only about a political will.’’
He said there was already a case to review the wages prior to the election, adding that he was not bothered about when the implementation of the new minimum wage would start.
According to him, he was only bothered by the fact that some workers in some states are still not paid the current N18,000 minimum wage in use.
He said denying a worker the minimum of N18,000 was enough to prick the conscience.
Mr. Oshiomhole quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying that “he does not know how anyone who has not paid workers for two, three months or even one year is able to sleep.’’
“As governor of Edo, I increased the minimum wage from N18,000 to N25,000 a month for the least paid worker.
“And I did that to dismiss and to close the debate whether a higher minimum wage is desirable.
“Rather than going to be giving a lecture on why a higher minimum wage is inevitable, I thought it is better to use my executive power to increase the minimum wage and to pay it.
“Not only did I pay it for as long as I was governor, my successor has continued to pay it.
“And Edo has continued to deliver on infrastructure and on its mandate to the admiration of its residents,’’ the former governor said.
The federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, had on February 27 said the implementation of the new minimum wage would begin in the third quarter of the year.
NLC had proposed N56,000 for the least paid worker to the federal government.
A 30-member committee on minimum wage headed by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple, was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2017.