Nigeria: Minimum Wage - Workers Weren't Happy That Ngige Returned As Labour Minister - FIRS Union Boss

File photo of members of the Nigeria Labour Congress protesting over non-implementation of the new minimum wage in Calabar.
25 October 2019

Nigerian Civil Service Union (NCSU) has said workers were unhappy over 2019 retention of Dr Chris Ngige as Labour Minister because of his "unfavourable" management of the current minimum wage saga.

NCSU Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Unit, Idris Abdulrahman, expressed the displeasure yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers state as leaders of the union undergo a seminar on the theme, 'Role of Stakeholders in Achieving Organisational Goals'.

Abdulrahman said, "Minimum wage as being handled by the federal government has been nothing but frustration for workers. The percentage increase on the minimum wage is just peanut compared to what politician officeholders fixed for selves.

"Look at what the National Assembly earn as salaries side by side with what Nigerian labour unions are asking for workers. It is not encouraging at all for the nation's workforce.

"What is encouraging is that if you say you are a leader and give the impression that you are for the masses, the right thing to do is when an agreement is reached on minimum wage, it should be done at the right time. They should not prolong the matter.

When you prolong the matter it tells on your integrity. That is why some of us were not happy when the labour minister (Ngige) was reappointed. We are not comfortable with it. Mr President can't do everything, so he appoints people in all these ministries.

"When they are so appointed, they play an advisory role to the President. A minister's body language determines what the President decides for that ministry.

Give the President favourable feedback, in terms of your (Minister's) engagement with the labour force, and the President will act favourably. But when you are giving negative feedback to the President, it won't augur well for the system.

Abdulrahman also expressed displeasure over the increase in Value Added Tax in Nigeria (VAT), saying, "Even as FIRS staff, we buy from the same market with other Nigerians. Personally, I don't cherish Nigeria increasing VAT because as long as it will have a multiplier effect on the consumers."


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