By lduozee Paul, Benin
As governor s in Nigeria debate on how they can pay the newly approved minimum wage, the president general of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASGOC), Comrade Muhammad Attahiru Yunusa has called on President Buhari and state governors to cut down their spending on political appointees so that they can pay the new wage and cause workers to enjoy the fruit of their labour.
Comrade Muhammad Yunusa made the call a meeting with SSASGOC officials held in Benin city, at the weekend. He said the aim of the meeting was to discuss on issues affecting the association and its members and how they can offer solutions to address them noting, that one of the issues was the N30,000 new minimum wage.
“Being in this profession for over 40years now, our aim is to provide good welfare to our members. We are a public sector union, which means; all government policies must impact our on our members proactively. We are all aware of the new minimum wage, and how various governments reacted to it. You are aware that some state governors are still insisting that they cannot pay the new minimum wage.
“Our position now is for President Muhammadu Buhari to assent the new minimum wage bill before we now know those state governors that cannot pay the money.When it becomes a law then we will now see which of the governors that cannot pay the fund. We have a template of what we can do to compel those governors to pay the new minimum wage. We will also come out with a communique”
He added, “We used this forum to brainstorm together on what we can do to mitigate or stop such opinion by those governors. We had registered with the Federal Ministry of Labour and affiliated to the Trade Union Congress (NUC), We are here in Benin city to hold our organ meeting called the National Administrative Council Meeting.
“We used the medium to talk about the issues troubling the group and members.Our discussion on minimum wage is that all the governments have the capacity to pay the minimum wage. To make it realistic for them to pay the money, they should cut down the cost of governance.
For example, from the money they used to pay government appointees, the legislators and other areas in government, they can pay the fund.We have to cut down the cost to encourage those workers that are generating the wealth. As you know, all over the world, including Nigeria workers are the ones creating the wealth. There are some governors who have more than 22 senior special assistants with other loopholes in government, so cutting down on government expenses will enable them pay the minimum wage”
According to him,paying the new wage will motivate workers and improve productivity..
“lf you demotivate the workers by not giving them the right salary, they will not be able to put in their best to bring the right productivity.We also advised that government should come out with a new pay package for political appointees so that what had been done in the past can be rectified and we move away from it into a new realm. For example, you can peg the monthly salary of a senator to equal to the that of a permanent secretary, as a matter of enacting new law.
“With the new government to be sworn –in,before we can know what action to take, we believe in dialogue and negotiation to achieve our aims. We believe the National Assembly will be able to look at the case properly. We are not new to the struggles, when that fails,we have other options to take, ” the association boss stated.
Also commenting on the meeting, Comrade Muhammed Yunusa said it was fruitful explaining that the association members in all the federal government agencies in Nigeria.
According to him, report being received from all their branches is good and at the end of the assessment the body will come outwith good ideas that will shape all their branches in the country.
Supporting the view of the president,the national PRO of SSASGOC, Comrade Adedayo Francisca Abiodun, said the focus of the meeting is to deliberate on how to move the association forward, and what they can do to proffer remedy to their plights. “We are looking forward to a new Nigeria. We want to see how government at all level will start operating”.