•Labour seeks panel on N56,000 minimum wage
President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday that his administration will have no reason to give excuses for failure to deliver on its electoral promises, as it is determined to tackle all socio-economic ills troubling the nation.
The President said his administration was prepared to evolve solutions to emerging threats to the nation’s well-being and the realisation of sustainable development as well as growth anchored on equity and social Justice.
In an address read on his behalf by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, at the 2016 May Day celebration at the Eagle Square, Abuja, President Buhari said the government’s efforts at addressing the ills of the society will not be possible without the express cooperation of workers as social partners in the Nigerian project.
According to him, the development of any society must be sustainable for it to benefit society. It is the responsibility of those at the citadel of power to align themselves with the working class who make development possible by generating and sustaining the momentum of positive change, he said.
Assuring Nigerians that his administration shall effect a positive change in the lives of average citizens, Buhari said the government will ensure that the downtrodden are elevated and most importantly fight corruption, which has enriched a few to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians who groan under the weight of poverty and all the superstructural and infrastructural maladies resulting from corruption.
He said: “This year’s celebration is significant in a number of ways. First, it marks the first May Day celebration under the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, which brought an end to the 16 years of national squander, bad governance, unbridled corruption and economic woes by the previous administration.
“Second, it is coming at a time when the whole world is experiencing some form of economic crisis or the other. For us whose main foreign exchange comes from oil, the global decline in the price of oil has further exacerbated our economic crisis.
“The resultant effects of this are noticeable in government dwindling resources, reduction in operational capacities of most companies, especially in the oil and gas sector, threat of workforce reduction by multinationals and the escalation of volatility, among others. These developments, no doubt, have socio-economic implications for the economy as well as the working class.
“I will make no excuses as this APC government is determined to tackle headlong, all socio-economic ills that have troubled our nation as we shall evolve solutions to emerging threats to our well-being and the realisation of sustainable development as well as growth anchored on equity and social Justice.
“Development must be sustainable for it to benefit society in general. It is, therefore, the responsibility of those in the citadel of power to align themselves with the working class who make development possible by generating and sustaining the momentum of positive change.
“That is why the present administration has sought and will continue to seek the hand of labour so that together, we can attain the enviable height of progress in our believed country.
“It is for this reason that I aspired to be President, which the Nigerian people have now made a reality. This administration shall effect positive change on the lives of average Nigerians, to ensure that the downtrodden are elevated and, most importantly, to fight the intense pain of corruption which has enriched the cry few to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians who groan under the overwhelming weight of poverty and all the superstructural and infrastructural maladies resulting from corruption.
“In this fight against corruption, I need you all to be cry willing partners. Fighting corruption in the public service in particular requires the workers to play major roles by cooperating with the government.
“I have listened to the speeches made by both the President of TUC and NLC and the challenges facing Nigeria has been highlighted and I assure you that they shall be accorded due consideration.
“It is worthy to note that solution to some of these issues and requests are already being considered and would be made public in the near future. The times may be tough, but we Nigerians are by nature resilient and strong and it is that nature that propels us to overcome adversities and still thrive as a nation.
“There will always be challenges in the life of a man and what defines greatness is the way and manner such challenges are tackled and overcome. I assure you that this administration is able and willing to constructively handle the challenges.
“In doing so, I request your cooperation and understanding as partners in progress. The need to ensure a conducive atmosphere devoid of incessant industrial actions becomes paramount to ensure no loss of man hour and accordingly promote high productivity which is prerequisite for sustainable development based on increased investment, creation of jobs as well as protection of jobs.”
Dr. Ngige said in view of the currrent economic realities in the country, there was the need for a paradigm shift in the way we have hitherto conducted our businesses by moving from adversarial to developmental trade unionism.
Represented by the Director, Trade Union Services and International Relations, Mrs Chinedu Dike, the Minister said the paradigm shift guarantees the continued expansion of our socio-economic frontiers, thus making them drivers of job creation, infrastructural development, increased national productivity and improved standard of living. In addition, it promotes industrial harmony, social dialogue, work place governance and democracy.