President Muhammadu Buhari has given assurance that the current economic hardship in the country will soon be over.
He also described Nigerians as resilient people, saying that such quality will enable them overcome the hard times the country is going through.
The president, who said this yesterday at this year’s May Day celebration, was silent on the recent proposal by organized labour for a new minimum wage of N56, 000.
The president was though absent at the May Day celebration, which would have been his maiden May Day celebration. He was represented by the minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
He promised to promote more incentives for workers to promote productivity, adding that despite the tough times, Nigerians are resilient.
“The times may be tough, but we Nigerians are by nature resilient and strong and it is that nature that propels us to overcome adversities and still thrive as a nation,” the president said.
Though, the president did not make reference to the N56,000 minimum wage demanded by labour, he, however, promised that his administration “shall effect positive change in the lives of average Nigerians, to ensure that the downtrodden are elevated and, most importantly, to fight the intense pain of corruption which has enriched the very few to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians who groan under the overwhelming weight of poverty.”
The NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in his speech commended the present administration for its efforts in tackling the issues of corruption, insurgency, inadequate power, shortage of petroleum products and the dwindling fortunes of the nation’s education sector.
He also commended the military for its renewed onslaught on the Boko Haram insurgency, but warned that the war could not be said to have been successfully fought and won without the rescue of over 200 Chibok girls who were abducted from their dormitory over two years ago and the reintegration of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the society.
He urged the president to come up with an action plan for the reconstruction of the devastated infrastructure of the north east geo-political zone, the hot bed of the insurgency.
He also expressed the readiness of the labour union to engage the present administration on how it would deliver on its promise of creating three million jobs annually.
Comrade Wabba said: “The ruling APC government in its manifesto promised to create three million jobs annually. We have waited one year for the government to bring out its blueprints on how it intends to go about achieving this. Congress will seek audience with Mr. President to get more information on this important matter. On our part as workers, we will be prepared and willing to contribute to any effort to create a ‘Job Creation Fund’ nationally to tackle this problem.”
After submitting a N56, 000 proposal as new minimum wage to the federal government, the NLC president stated that the congress is eagerly waiting for government to kick-start the negotiation process.
According to him, the proposal is in line with the National Minimum Wage Act which stipulates a five year re-opener clause for a new negotiation.
“The bill upon which the wage was pegged at N18,000 minimum wage was signed into law by the ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, thereby opening the way for a review in 2016,” he said.