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Mohammed Idris to labour: Settle for minimum wage that won’t undermine economy

Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, says organised labour should settle for a minimum wage that will not undermine the country’s economy.

Idris spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of the 2024 Synod of the Charismatic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

Organised labour had proposed N615,500 and then N494,000 as the new national minimum wage, but the federal government said it was unrealistic.

On June 7, the federal government increased its offer for the new minimum wage for workers from N60,000 to N62,000.

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However, the labour unions have insisted on N250,000.

Idris said the government is not opposed to an increase in the wage for workers.

“As I have repeatedly said, the federal government is not opposed to the increase of wages for Nigerian workers, but we keep on advocating for a realistic and sustainable wage system for the workers—a wage system that will not undermine the economy, lead to mass retrenchment of workers, or jeopardize the welfare of about 200 million Nigerians,” the minister said.

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“We want the labour unions to understand that the relief that Nigerians are expecting and that they fully deserve will not come only in the form of an increase in wages.

“It will also come as an effort to reduce the cost of living and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of Nigerians. And this is where programmes like the presidential CNG initiative come in.

“By replacing or complementing petrol usage with CNG, that programme alone will cut transportation costs by as much as 50 percent.”

The minister said the church has always been a partner of the federal government in championing infrastructural projects for the good of the people.

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“Even as we go through the temporary but necessary hardship, the President is not resting on his oars. He is determined to ensure that as many relief and palliative measures as possible are rolled out for the benefit of every segment of the Nigerian population,” he said.

“Now, this is where you, as clergy, as deeply respected religious leaders and influential voices, come in. As a government, we need your support, your advice, and your feedback.

“Very importantly, we also need you to be aware of the efforts being made and the challenges being faced so that you can help us communicate these to your congregations and the general public.”

On his part, Leonard Bature Kawas, national president of the Charismatic Bishop Conference, said the organisation would continue to partner with the administration of President Bola Tinubu to achieve its vision for Nigeria.

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