The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday, warned the federal government to stop its move to cut the salaries of Nigerian workers, saying such a move is tantamount to a “mass suicide” for the working population in the country.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had on Tuesday at a policy dialogue on corruption and cost of governance in Nigeria organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission said the federal government was working to reduce the high cost of governance by cutting down on the salaries of Nigerian workers.
Ahmed was also reported to have directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to immediately review the salaries of civil servants as well as the number of federal agencies in the country.
But the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, in its reaction, asked the government not to tamper with the “meagre” N30,000 minimum wage, insisting that only humongous remuneration and allowances being pocketed by political office holders should be slashed.
“It is almost unthinkable that the government would be contemplating to unilaterally slash the salaries of Nigerian workers at this time.
“The question to ask is ‘which salary is the government planning to slash?’ It certainly cannot be the meagre national minimum wage of N30,000 which right now cannot even buy a bag of rice.
“The proposed slash in salaries is certainly not targeted at the minimum wage and consequential adjustment in salaries that some callous state governors are still dragging their feet to pay.
“It is public knowledge that the multiple devaluations of the Naira in a very short time and the prevailing high inflation rate in Nigeria has knocked out the salaries earned by Nigerian workers across the board.
“Indeed, Nigerian workers are miracles strutting on two legs. It is, therefore, extremely horrendous for a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pronounce salary slash for Nigerian workers at this time,” Wabba said.
The labour leader, while describing the move as “callous” and “inhumane”, however, said Nigerian workers demand an immediate retraction and apology by the Minister of Finance.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Minister of Finance to order now before she sets Nigeria on fire with her careless statements.