Gbajabiamila calls for an improvement in the minimum wage

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for a reasonable living wage which will serve as a social protection blanket for Nigerian workers.

Gbajabiamila spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at the Nigeria Labor Congress Roundtable on Social Protection Coverage.

The theme is “Expanding Social Protection Coverage and Ensuring Effective Implementation in Nigeria”.

He said it was the duty of the government to ensure that there was proper and adequate shelter and food for the people.

“There should be old age care and pensions, care for the unemployed, the sick and social assistance for the disabled should be provided.

“This is how we will ensure that people born in Nigeria can live lives of fulfillment and contribute meaningfully to society throughout their lives,” he said.

The speaker noted that social protection was one of the most important responsibilities that proved that the government was fulfilling its constitutional obligations.

“Many of us may not realize it, but there is a strong correlation between lack of social protection, poverty and crime.

“Social protection legitimizes the state of mind of the citizen and confers on the government.

“When we come together to reflect on ways to improve social protection coverage in our country, we are engaging in the fundamental act of nation building,” he said.

The speaker further said that the house will ensure that there is a collective agreement on what it will take to achieve the best vision for Nigeria and the welfare of our people.

“I expect that after we get an agreement on what needs to be done, we will then do what is necessary.

“I assure you that in the House of Representatives, we are committed to using the tools of legislative authority to propose solutions and implement policies that will help realize the promise of union.

“These are challenging times for our country. However, an abundance of historical evidence leads me to believe that at this time of crisis, there is an opportunity for us to make choices and take actions that can improve the people’s lives.

“These choices will not be easy and the actions we must take require sacrifice,” he said.

Gbajabiamila added that it is up to lawmakers to build a country where citizens have the opportunity to rise to the height of their abilities.

Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, Chairman of the Senate Civil Service Committee, said that the peace, stability and economic development of any country depends on how its leaders take care of their workers.

Shekarau, represented by Senator Smart Adeyemi, (APC-Kogi-West) said it was necessary to have a master plan to improve the living standards of workers.

“Nigerian workers deserve more than what they earn. NLC and legislators should work in synergy to ensure that people live well in times of economic recession.

“If people are hungry, you can’t say you represent them well. Any recommendation that comes out of this event, the house will ensure it is addressed urgently,” he said.

The president added that it was time to improve people’s lives, noting that all stakeholders should work together to achieve the goal. (NOPE)

Joel C. Hicks