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Onanuga’s Comment That FG Cannot Afford N100,000 Minimum Wage Is Baseless Speculation, Says TUC

It said the remarks are insensitive and indicative of a disconnect from the realities of many Nigerians.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has described the position of President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, on the raging minimum wage debate as baseless speculation.

The labour union stated Onanuga ‘s comment will serve to sow the seed of discord and undermine trust in the government.

TUC said that Onanuga had on Monday claimed that it will be difficult for the government to peg the proposed new minimum wage at N100,000.

According to TUC, the presidential aide hypothetically said that both the federal and state governments will be unable to pay public servants a N100, 000 or more national minimum wage if such were approved.

In a statement signed by TUC’s Secretary General, Nuhu Toro, the union said:” The attention of TUC has been drawn to speculative and uninformed public pronouncements by the presidency on the ongoing national minimum wage negotiations.

“The remarks made by the aide are not only insensitive but also indicative of a disconnect from the realities faced by millions of hardworking individuals striving to make ends meet.

“Such speculative statements undermine the fundamental principles of fair compensation and perpetuate the cycle of economic inequality. Tinubu’s government owe workers a duty to advocate for policies that promote decent wages and ensure reasonable standard of living for all citizens, in line with global best practices.”

TUC said that the federal and state governments, employers and organised labour, are in the preliminary stages of negotiations for the new national minimum wage in the country in accordance with the constitution, adding “No proposals have been made by any of the negotiating partners, including the presidency.

It added: “No offer has been made, and none has been negotiated. So, the president’s spokesman in bandying around figures, is merely being mischievous. This may well be a strategy to throw spanner in the works of the negotiating body.

“If the presidency has a figure or figures it wants to propose, it should do so through the minimum wage negotiating committee, through social dialogue, determined by the cost-of-living index, rather than behave like a man throwing stones in the marketplace and hiding his hand.

“The presidency has knowledgeable people in government that can advise on how proposals are submitted to the negotiating body, rather than allow grossly uniformed speculators like Onanuga to dirty the waters.”

Nonetheless, it said Congress was not going to dignify Onanuga and his principals with counter proposals because it is neither how tripartite negotiation works, nor how social dialogue can be carried out.

 Rather, it said it remained focused on executing the socio-economic and patriotic task of giving the country a sustainable living wage.

“We urge the working people to ignore and disregard Onanuga and his tribe of gamblers who while milking the country dry, wail that there is no money to pay hardworking Nigerians decent wages.

“The TUC also holds that it is immoral for the funds of the country to be frittered away on things such as buying expensive cars worth billions of Naira for politicians in power and their spouses,” it added.

The group urged all Nigerians to support the democratic process of arriving at a living wage, and ignore the tantrums and distractions of people who think governance is all about propaganda, not sincerely serving the people.

“We stand united in our demand for transparency, accountability, and respect for the dignity of all workers. The President must act swiftly to restore faith in the government’s commitment to economic justice and to reject any notion that suggests otherwise,” it said.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo

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