New Telegraph

Minimum Wage: We’re solidly behind labour’s push for living wage –Minority Leader

Leader of the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP/ Rivers) has declared support for the current agitation by organised labour for an upward review of the National Minimum Wage, but advised the executive arm of government to go beyond the ordinary and grant a living wage to Nigerian worker.

Chinda, who made this known on Friday during a chat with journalists in Abuja, said that while the current minimum wage of N30, 000 is long overdue for a review, the Nigerian workers deserves a wage that reflects current economic realities in the country.

The ranking lawmaker, who represents Obi Akpor Federal Constituency of Rivers State, said the support for a living wage for Nigerian workers was not just among the minority caucus but cuts across party lines in the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

Apparently not satisfied with the Federal Government’s reluctance to make a robust offer after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) demanded the sum of N494, 000 minimum wage, Chinda said even a N70,000 wage cannot sustain an average family for a month. He said: “The government should pay Nigerians a living wage because it will solve a lot of problems.

“We believe that the issue of corruption can be drastically reduced if we pay a living wage and it will ignite the spirit of the people to believe in the state once again. “A minimum wage of N70, 000 cannot solve the problems of a family which consists of a man, his wife and four children.

“I think the law recog- nises or recommends one wife and four children, but how can a man earning N70,000 pay his rent and feed the family? How much is the price of a bag of rice? What we should be looking at now is a living wage.

“Let the government look deeply into it and let’s see how we can pay a living wage to Nigerian workers.

“As a caucus, we solidly support labour in its agitation for a new wage but in pursuing this goal, they must follow the rules because two wrongs can never make a right.”

Chinda however urged the state governors who are saying that they cannot pay more than N70, 000 to reconsider their stand. He charged both the Federal and State governments to sit down with labour and sincerely work out what is affordable and practicable. He said that Nigerians are hungry and angry because they believe that there’s so much wastage in the system.

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