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Federal Government Approves 25-35% Pay Rise for Civil Servants on Eve of May Day

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The federal government has sanctioned a significant pay increase ranging between 25 and 35 percent, effective from January 1, 2024.

The announcement, made on the eve of May Day, also known as Labour Day, showed government acknowledgment of the contributions and welfare of the nation’s workforce.

The decision comes amidst the culmination of the deliberations of the 37-member tripartite committee on national minimum wage, led by former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Bukar Goni Aji.

Launched in January, the committee’s report is set to be submitted shortly, addressing critical concerns regarding wage structures and standards.

According to Emmanuel Njoku, Head of Press at the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission (NSIWC), the pay increments extend across various consolidated salary structures, encompassing entities such as the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS), and others.

The federal government has also approved commensurate pension increases, ranging from 20 to 28 percent, for pensioners enrolled in the Defined Benefits Scheme within these structures.

While the news of the wage hike has been met with anticipation and optimism by some, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed skepticism, dismissing the move as inconsequential.

Chris Onyeka, Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, rebuffed the announcement, stating that the commission lacks the authority to dictate national minimum wage rates.

Onyeka emphasized the need for substantive actions that truly address the concerns of civil servants and the working class.

Despite the NLC’s reservations, the wage increase marks a significant development for government workers grappling with the economic challenges exacerbated by inflation and rising living costs.

The approval signifies the government’s recognition of the imperative to provide adequate remuneration to sustain the livelihoods of its workforce.

In response to inquiries regarding the timing of the announcement, Njoku clarified that there is no wrong time to implement policies beneficial to workers.

He assured that the government would promptly disburse the arrears owed to employees from January onwards.

However, behind the scenes, speculation persists regarding the motives driving the government’s swift action.

Sources within senior government circles hinted that the announcement was preemptive, aimed at forestalling potential unrest during the May Day celebrations.

Concerns over the prospect of organized labor protests prompted government officials to expedite the wage increase, averting potential clashes or disruptions.

In light of these developments, the onus lies on the government to engage constructively with stakeholders to address the broader issues confronting the workforce.

As civil servants welcome the prospect of improved remuneration, the nation awaits further initiatives to enhance the welfare and prosperity of its labor force, underscoring the significance of sustained dialogue and collaboration between the government and labor unions.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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President Tinubu Asserts Minimum Wage Will Reflect Nigeria’s Economic Realities

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President Bola Tinubu declared that Nigeria’s minimum wage will be determined by what the nation can afford.

Speaking at a dinner celebrating Nigeria’s 25 years of unbroken democratic rule, Tinubu said it is necessary to align the minimum wage with the country’s economic realities.

“The minimum wage is going to be what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford and what I can afford,” President Tinubu stated, addressing a gathering of dignitaries and officials in Abuja on Wednesday.

This pronouncement comes amid ongoing discussions and debates about the appropriate level for the national minimum wage.

The Organised Labour has been vocal in its demand for a significant increase, proposing a minimum wage of N250,000, far exceeding the N62,000 suggested by the federal government team in the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage.

In response to Tinubu’s statement, Labour leaders have reiterated their stance, refusing to accept what they term a “starvation minimum wage.”

Tinubu’s remarks also touched on the broader issue of food inflation, a critical concern for many Nigerians. The President acknowledged the role of banditry in exacerbating food scarcity and driving up prices.

“The promises I could make is to struggle to bring the food price down but those bandits must leave the farmers alone and bring Nigeria back to its glory of production and harvesting,” he said.

Highlighting the challenges posed by entrenched interests in the oil industry, Tinubu noted that those accustomed to significant profits over decades are resistant to changes that might disrupt their financial advantages.

This resistance, he argued, is part of the broader struggle Nigeria faces in its path to economic stability and growth.

Reflecting on the nation’s democratic journey, Tinubu expressed pride and optimism. He recounted a humorous incident from the morning’s Democracy Day parade, where he stumbled while performing the traditional Yoruba “dobale” (prostration). “Democracy is worth falling for,” he quipped, underscoring his deep commitment to the democratic process.

The President also addressed calls for fiscal prudence from various quarters, particularly in light of Labour’s demands. He urged Nigerians to manage their expectations realistically. “They ask you to cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all,” he remarked, advocating for economic policies that reflect the nation’s financial realities.

Tinubu praised the spirit of unity and cooperation demonstrated by leaders across party lines, acknowledging the presence of governors from various states and parties at the dinner.

He reiterated the importance of national unity, saying “Is it not true that Nigeria is greater than any one of us? The unity of this country cannot be traded.”

The President also took a moment to reflect on criticisms regarding the reversal to the old National Anthem, defending the decision as part of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.

“If you cannot change the name Nigeria are you the creator of Nigerian name?” he queried, affirming his commitment to the country’s identity and unity.

As Nigeria looks to the future, President Tinubu called for collective effort and investment in national orientation to instill a sense of responsibility and patriotism in the younger generation.

“We will make Nigeria a tremendously successful country if we gather as we gather here tonight and encourage our children about the charter of our value system,” he stated.

In closing, Tinubu highlighted the importance of rejecting corruption and upholding integrity, praising customs officers in Kebbi and Ondo for their recent actions against bribery and vandalism.

“Citizenship is not just the dictionary meaning of it; it is the actual character in us, and we must teach these ones to achieve it,” he concluded.

The dinner was attended by notable personalities, including former Foreign Minister Bolaji Akinyemi, diplomat Babagana Kingibe, veteran journalist Segun Osoba, and political leaders Bisi Akande, Pius Akinyelure, and Lawal Shuaibu, among others.

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NLC and TUC Suspend Strike For One Week Over Minimum Wage, Electricity Tariff Hike

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Nigeria Labour Congress - Investors King

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have announced the suspension of their industrial action for one week.

The strike, initiated to protest the lack of consensus on a new minimum wage and the recent hike in electricity tariffs, had brought critical sectors of the Nigerian economy to a standstill.

Temporary Halt in Strike Actions

Festus Osifo, the president of the TUC, made the announcement on Tuesday following a joint extraordinary national executive council meeting held in Abuja.

The decision to suspend the strike is intended to provide a window for further negotiations with the government.

Osifo assured that a detailed communique outlining the unions’ expectations and next steps would be issued shortly.

Background of the Strike

The industrial action began on Monday, causing widespread disruption across the country. Schools, businesses, hospitals, and airports were shut down, significantly affecting daily activities.

Also, the national grid was shut down, plunging the nation into darkness and highlighting the severity of the unions’ grievances.

The NLC and TUC have been adamant about their demands for a revised minimum wage that reflects the current economic realities and an immediate reversal of the electricity tariff hike, which they argue places an undue financial burden on Nigerians.

Impact of the Strike

The shutdown had immediate and far-reaching impacts. Educational institutions were closed, disrupting the academic calendar. Business operations were halted, leading to potential financial losses.

The healthcare sector, already strained, faced additional challenges as hospitals were forced to operate on limited resources or close entirely. Airports, critical for both domestic and international travel, saw significant disruptions, affecting thousands of passengers.

Perhaps most critically, the national grid shutdown resulted in widespread power outages, affecting both residential areas and industrial operations. This blackout underscored the unions’ influence and the severity of their concerns.

Government’s Response and Next Steps

In response to the strike, government officials have been working to address the unions’ demands. The suspension of the strike is seen as a positive step towards achieving a resolution, but the unions have made it clear that this is a temporary measure. They expect substantive progress in the negotiations within the week.

The forthcoming communique from the NLC and TUC will likely provide more detailed insights into the terms of the suspension and the unions’ expectations from the government. Both parties will need to navigate these discussions carefully to avoid further disruptions.

Public Reaction

The public has reacted with a mix of relief and cautious optimism. Many Nigerians have expressed hope that the temporary suspension will lead to a lasting resolution that addresses the economic hardships faced by the populace.

However, there is also a palpable sense of uncertainty, given the history of prolonged negotiations without concrete outcomes.

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PDP Urges Labour to Demand N120,000 Minimum Wage Amidst Strike Standoff

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Bola Tinubu

The ongoing nationwide strike led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has taken a new turn as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) advises organized labour not to settle for anything less than a N120,000 minimum wage.

This call comes amidst the Federal Government’s current offer of N60,000, which the labour unions have already rejected in favour of their initial demand of N494,000.

On Monday, PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary Ibrahim Abdullahi criticized the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for what he termed as insincere negotiations with labour leaders.

He argued that the Federal Government’s claim of insufficient funds to meet the N120,000 demand was hypocritical, given its alleged extravagant spending on other projects.

“The back and forth with the labour leaders is hypocritical of the government,” Abdullahi said.

“They didn’t mean well for Nigerians from the word go, even when they started engaging the NLC. It was not an intended policy direction. It was something that was made as a smokescreen to continue to deceive the Nigerian workers and, of course, the nation.”

Abdullahi further criticized the government’s spending priorities, citing expensive infrastructure projects and international trips for officials as evidence that funds could be reallocated to support a higher minimum wage.

“If they can afford to construct a road for N3 trillion, if they can afford to do all this jamboree, if they can afford to take 1,500 government officials out of this country for things that are not important, then I don’t know why, for crying out loud, they should not be able to pay a reasonable minimum wage,” he stated.

The PDP’s stance has intensified the political debate surrounding the strike, which has already caused significant disruptions across the country.

Government offices, airports, schools, and hospitals have been paralyzed, with electricity and water supply severely affected.

Responding to the PDP’s comments, APC Publicity Director Bala Ibrahim accused the opposition of exploiting the situation for political gain and labelled their advice as unpatriotic.

“The PDP is gradually turning into something that will one day question the integrity of the Constitution of Nigeria,” Ibrahim said.

He argued that the PDP’s position stemmed from bitterness over losing the recent elections, and that if the PDP had won, there would be no wages at all.

Ibrahim acknowledged the economic hardship faced by Nigerians but described the NLC and TUC’s demand for N494,000 as unreasonable.

He called for a more balanced approach in negotiations, taking into account the broader population.

“The labour union should engage their sense of reason in negotiation. They should engage their conscience, patriotism, justice, and fairness in negotiation,” he stated.

“While they are negotiating for the workers who are less than 20 percent of the population, they should also have feelings for the remaining 80 percent of Nigerians who go to the same market with these workers, who have no one to pay them anything, and who are struggling to make ends meet.”

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