Don’t play politics with new minimum wage, Presidency warns politicians

NBS report: Presidency reacts, says initiatives against challenges robust
Femi Adesina

The Presidency has warned politicians, particularly, those in opposition parties not to play politics with the issue of the new minimum wage ahead of the 2019 election.

The Presidency said the controversy over the position of President Muhammadu Buhari on the amount to be approved for the new minimum wage was concocted.

It said that it had become obvious that those playing politics with the issue of minimum wage had nothing else to sell to Nigerians to vote for them.

“As for those who have latched onto the concocted controversy to play cheap politics, we appeal to them to remember that elections are not won through loquaciousness, and trying to demean the President at every drop of a hat. But then, it is not surprising, as they have nothing else to sell to Nigerians, if they don’t ride on the name of the President. Stiff judgment awaits them at the polls,” the Presidency said in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

The Presidency also described as unnecessary, the controversy ignited over the position of the president on the new minimum wage.

It described as untrue, alleged reports that Buhari had reneged on earlier acceptance of the N30,000 recommended by the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee.

It said the news making the rounds was contrary to what transpired on Tuesday when the committee presented its Report to the President.

The Presidency said while acknowledging the concerns raised by government on affordability and labour’s focus on meaningful increase, Buhari stated clearly in a speech, which was made available to the media.

The president was quoted as having said:  “In a way, both arguments are valid. I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas.

“Our plan is to transmit an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for passage within the shortest possible time.          I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future.

“As the Executive Arm commences its review of your submission, we will continue to engage you all in closing any open areas presented in this report. I, therefore, would like to ask for your patience and understanding in the coming weeks.”

The Presidency said from the president’s statement, he never mentioned any figure.

It said what he committed himself to was a new minimum wage, and only after the Report of the committee has been reviewed by the executive and legislative processes of government and an appropriate bill presented to him for assent.

It said that the president indicated that until the proposed minimum wage had gone through the whole gamut of law-making, Buhari, “who is a stickler for due process, will not be caught in this unnecessary web of controversy, which amounts to putting the cart before the horse and hair-splitting.”