Professor of Strategy and Development at the Commonwealth Institute of Advanced & Professional Studies, Professor Anthony Kila, has said that increasing individuals wages without simultaneously enhancing the production side of the economy could potentially result in inflation.
Instead, he suggests adopting a more collaborative and concentrated approach to governance that prioritises bolstering the supply aspect of the economy over stimulating demand.
President Bola Tinubu, after talks with the Nigerian Labour Party (NLC), had consented to a temporary salary increase of N35,000 for a duration of six months for all Federal Government employees paid from the treasury.
This came after the president, in his inaugural Independence Day address, announced that over the upcoming half-year period, the average low-grade employee would see a monthly increase of N25,000 in their earnings.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, Kila, in review of Tinubu’s speech, stated that the address had two main components: firstly, a reflection on the importance of October 1 from an ontological and temporal perspective, and secondly, addressing contemporary government issues.
He said, “You can argue this is a listening Presidency that started with 25, then heard the people and moved to 35.
“Otherwise, you can look at it as haphazard because you could have thought all this thing through and consulted before doing.”
While Kila recognised the value of attempting to prevent the strike and increasing the amount of money offered, he provided an alternative view, stating, “Rather than doling out money, it might be good to go to a more consultative, concentrative kind of governance that focuses on supply rather than demand.
“My fear is that it’s going to lead to inflation because we’ve not augmented the supply side of the economy, and we’re putting more money into the hands of the people.”
Another worry he has is related to the concept of temporary measures. He said he doesn’t know what the future holds in six months but suggests that those offering guidance to the government should begin contemplating future scenarios.
“This idea that the government wants to distribute money to Nigerians is not something that can work in a population with over 75 million adults,” Kila added.
According to him, a highly effective approach to decision-making involves seeking input through consultation, careful consideration, and open communication and proposed that, ideally, before unveiling the figure of 25,000, they should have reached an agreement with the labour force, ensuring that there would be no need for subsequent revisions once the announcement was made.
Additionally, the professor said that an announcement is not synonymous with a promise; instead “a promise is what you commit to do” while “announcement is making it public.”
He further mentioned that the October 1st address should steer clear of government matters and should avoid being overly intricate, stating, “I think the president, when next he wants to write the speech, should just talk about the big narrative of Nigerian history, the Nigerian ethics, the Nigerian ethos and the view of Nigeria.”
While he acknowledged that there is indeed an issue with ethos in Nigeria, he emphasised that ethos should be understood as narratives created by people.
“If I were to redesign a new narrative for Nigeria, what I would suggest is to view Nigeria as a union of nations, not one nation Nigeria,” Kila stated.
He expressed that this would enable individuals to embrace their uniqueness and foster the coexistence of diverse cultures under a well-defined and transparent legal framework, ultimately promoting people’s prosperity.
He said, “A nation where politics is less important than medicine and arts and trade.
“We have done well where the government is not involved.”