Govt Must Reduce Workforce To Pay Better Wages-Umahi

As the minimum wage bill controversy rages on, the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, is suggesting that Civil Servants should be downsized while affected workers will be compensated with up to 30 years salary to invest in more profitable businesses.

Umahi said the move would lead to the payment of minimum wage that would be higher than the current N30,000 minimum wage.

The governor made the suggestion on Thursday during a Sunrise Daily programme on Channels Tv.

Umahi admitted that there is low level of patriotism among political class and the citizens.

With the new minimum wage raised to N30,000 in 2019, most governors are still unable to pay, citing lack of funds.

Nigeria’s minimum wage which is enshrined on the exclusive legislative list faced a threat of being moved to the concurrent legislative list, a move which could allow state governors manipulate workers welfare, according to NLC President Ayuba Wabba.

But the move led to a protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress and other orgainsed labour, as they picketed the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“The basic problem of Nigeria is lack of patriotism. What we mostly pay in Nigeria, the salary I can call it social security. Because if you have N100,0000 workers and you get your FAAC allocation and you pay the workers and there is nothing left for the workers to work with, what are you doing? You are only paying social security and that is what is happening,” Umahi said on the issue.

The Ebonyi governor said he thinks the number of Civil Servants in the country “are so large.”

According to the governor, the country was wasting a lot of manpower at the Civil Service due to inappropriate engagement.

“So, I think that the minimum wage is honestly too minimum. How much can N30,000 do for Civil Servants? The truth is that the Civil Servant should understand that they are getting that minimum wage but their life-span is being wasted,” the governor lamented.

Although the governor claimed he was not subscribing for reduction in the number of workers, he said workers could be compensated with up to 30 years salary to join more productive ventures like farming.

Umahi noted that with the N30,000 minimum wage, such workers could get up to N10.8 million to engage in more productive activities.

He said States are not able to invest in infrastructure after paying wages, adding that it would amount to investing in “stomach infrastructure.”

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