President Bola Tinubu has announced a marginal increase in the take-home pay of junior federal civil servants to cushion the impact of the removal of petrol subsidy,
In his Independence Day speech on Sunday, the president announced a N25,000 allowance that would be paid to the junior civil servants for the next six months.
“For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month,” Mr Tinubu said.
The president said this interim wage rise for low-income workers and the plan for mass transit buses running on gas is to ease the impact of petrol subsidy removal.
“I am attuned to the hardships that have come,” Mr Tinubu said, adding, “We must endure this trying moment. Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.”
Mr Tinubu scrapped the decades-old subsidy during his inauguration in May and ended foreign exchange restriction. These have led to soaring cost of living and angered unions.
“I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future,” the president said on Sunday.
The announcement of the interim wage rise comes just two days before labour unions embark on an indefinite strike. Last month, the labour unions had gone on a warning strike due to the hardship caused by the removal of the subsidy on petrol.
It is not clear if the president’s offer will persuade labour unions not to go ahead with Tuesday strike.
Labour unions want Mr Tinubu to reinstate the fuel subsidy or significantly increase the wages of workers. Previously the unions have demanded a minimum wage of N200,000.
Mr Tinubu did nt address the specific demands of the labour unions in his speech but he noted that the marginal raise was necessary to avoid pushing up double-digit inflation.
Apart from its use to fuel most of the cars on Nigeria’s roads, petrol is also widely used in Nigeria to power generators by millions of households and small businesses because the national grid generates an average of 4,500 megawatts, leaving most of the citizens without electricity.
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