Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha has assured Nigerian workers that the government was working towards ensuring a new national minimum wage that will address the issue of social imbalance, inequality and the wide gap of poverty in the country.
The SGF was speaking at an award dinner to round up the 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja where the likes of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, late Pa Micheal Imoudu, late Olaitan Oyelunde, late Chiba Ubani, late Prof, Festus Iyayi, as well as past Presidents and General Secretaries of the congress and a host of others were honoured for their contribution to the Labour movement in Nigeria and inducted into Labour Hall of Fame.
He said that the welfare of Nigerian workers was top on the priority list of the Buhari administration while describing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as the soul of the government, adding that because of the importance the government attached to the welfare of workers, it was making a lot of efforts to resuscitate the economy.
He said: “The importance of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the affairs of any government cannot be overlooked. It is the soul of the government because without the workers, be they civil servants, private sector workers or even pensioners, there will be nobody to man the system.
“That is why this administration takes the welfare of the Nigerian worker as priority by putting so much effort into the resuscitation of the economy. I must underscore the fact that the primary objective of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is to diversity the economy, grow skills, create wealth, gain infrastructures, ensure food security and provide jobs.
“The federal government is conscious of the need to bring wages to meet economic realities. It is in this regard that the tripartite minimum wage committee was inaugurated to review the national minimum wage. The committee is determined to complete its assignment before the end of this year and I am confident that the outcome of their assignment would address the issue of social imbalance, inequality and the wide gap of poverty in the country.
“With this year anniversary theme of Nigeria Labour Congress yesterday, today and tomorrow, it is indeed time to count our blessings and chat a new course for the future. I believe that together, we can build the Nigeria of our dream and improve on the generality of the life of Nigerians.
“I congratulate the leadership of the congress for deeming it proper to reward past services through recognitions. I congratulate the awardees and say that your recognition tonight is a challenge to all of us to continue to contribute our best to the service of our nation.”
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the dinner was organised to honoured all those who have contributed to the growth of the Labour movement in the country, some of who paid the supreme price while other spent several months in detention during the military era to make the Labour movement what it is in the country today.
He said with the high level of discussion during the anniversary, it was evident that the future will be bright for the Nigerian worker, while calling for free cooperation of all Nigerians in the struggle to make the country a better place.
Wabba said “as enumerated during the three day brain storming event, and from the volume of discourse, it is very clear that the future will be bright because we have assembled the best from among our rank and file. We brought in our founding fathers that laid the solid foundation that allowed us to continue to exist despite the challenges.
“I am certain and all of us are convinced that from the issues that were discoursed, we have reasons to look into the future and build NLC of our dreams. It is therefore our sincere hope that this evening’s event to look at our little beginning, a beginning that has many challenges.
“But because of the determination of our founding fathers and the solid foundation they have laid, we are assured that the future is already secured. Therefore, part the event of this evening is to recognize the contribution of our patriots, our founding fathers, organizations and individuals that have worked assiduously to ensure that NLC continue to exist.
“Some of their contribution are too numerous to mention. Some have paid the supreme price and laid down their lives. Some have suffered deformity and others are here with us and we are going to recognize their contribution.
“Therefore, this occasion is to recognize key contribution of individuals and Organisation and also our veterans who have stood their ground even in the face of adversity. In the era of the military, some of them spent several months in jail. There is no other occasion to recognize these people than the 40th anniversary of congress.
“As an Organisation, we have survived all the challenges, but what is the condition of the Nigerian worker today and what do we want the condition of the worker to be. What will be our contribution to national development. Should we continue to serve as second class citizens. All these questions have been answered in the last three days.”