By Mumini Abdulkareem
Gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 governorship election in Kwara State, Hon Razak Atunwa, last night, promised to pay the N30,000 minimum wage being demanded by workers if elected.
Atunwa, who stated that he was a leading member of the Kwara State Government negotiating team that recommended the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage said he had always believed that every worker must earn a dignifying salary.
In a press statement personally signed by him yesterday, Atunwa, said it is disheartening that the issue of the minimum wage was allowed to drag this long adding that government as an employer of labour must adequately remunerate its workers.
President Muhammed Buhari on Wednesday in Aso Villa inaugurated the advisory committee headed by Bismarc Rewane to help the government find ways of implementation of the new minimum wage without disrupting the nation’s development plans.
Only few among the 36 states in the country have agreed to pay the new minimum wage being demand by workers. The last review was done in 2011 according to the president who had constituted a tripartite committee of government, private sector and labour on the issue.
But Atunwa assured the electorate that he will not hesitate to adopt and pay the N30,000 minimum wage if elected into office.
The statement reads in full: ‘The current agitation by the Nigeria Labour Congress and its affiliated unions for N30,000 minimum wage has been lingering for the past one year.
“It is somewhat disheartening that this issue has been allowed to drag on for this long with the resultant negative effect on the average worker who is struggling to make ends meet. Whilst it is understandable that any responsible Government must balance the competing demands on its resources, it must be understood that the Government as an employer of labour must adequately remunerate its workers.
“It is my firm belief that every worker deserves to earn a decent wage which will accommodate his basic needs in life. Every employee should be able to afford to look after himself and his family without resorting to unnecessary borrowing or begging. The minimum wage must be a ‘living wage’.
“We are all aware that the cost of living in Nigeria has quadrupled since 2015. Cost of basic food items, fuel, transportation, housing etc have skyrocketed. However, wages have remained stagnant in the same period.
“Accordingly, I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that if elected into office as Governor of Kwara State in 2019, I shall adopt and pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
“In addition, I will commit myself to workers’ welfare and working conditions.
“I have always believed that every worker must earn a dignifying wage. I was a leading member of the Kwara State Government negotiating team that recommended that Kwara State Government should implement the N18,000 minimum wage.
“Given the cost of living indices in Nigeria of today, paying the minimum wage is the only proper thing to do.”