Mr Donald Duke, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has called on the Federal Government to find a comprehensive and long term solution to the lingering minimum wage crisis in Nigeria. Duke made the call in a statement on Saturday in Calabar.
The presidential candidate said that the present “fire brigade” response was tantamount to giving a short term solution to a long term problem. He also described such an approach as inherently faulty and unsustainable, hence the incessant resurgence of the issue with every administration.
Duke, therefore, called for a holistic and systemic approach to addressing the issue, adding that identifying and addressing the real needs of civil servants would be the best approach to solving the lingering problem.
He listed some of the needs to include food, housing, transportation, health, children’s education, and security rather than focusing on salary increases.
Duke said that the highly subsidised Metro Blue public transportation scheme he introduced for civil servants while he was governor of Cross River, helped to cut down the transportation cost of civil servants in the state.
“I wish to advocate a shared ownership of the process and solutions to the issue through an effective dialogue between Labour and government taking into consideration all the variables including revenue accruing to government. “The Federal Government must involve all the stakeholders, including the organised private Ssctor and state governments in the negotiation process.
“They have an equally important stake being that they also employ reasonable number of workers,’’ Duke said. He called for a periodic review of salaries every ten years, taking into cognizance variables such as inflation.
According to him, anything done otherwise may have negative economic consequence including but not limited to downsizing the labour force. The SDP presidential candidate advised government to invest more of its energy in creating wealth by developing a production economy, rather than a consumption one.
This he explained was the only way to fore stall the incessant agitation and demand for wage increase and the consequent result of threats of strikes by labour unions.