Labour commends El-Rufai on salary slash, pledges support for Buhari



THE organized labour movement has commended the decision by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai and his deputy, Baba Barnabas Bantex to reduce their salaries and other benefits by 50 percent, calling on other public office holders, including President Muhammadu Buhari to emulate the gesture.

Deputy-President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu in a statement, said that all political office holders under the new regime should be able to make sacrifice, as part of the match towards reviving the nation’s comatose economy.

According to him, “We are particularly encouraged by the determination and commitment of Governor El Rufai and his Deputy to lead by example by sacrificing 50 percent of their salaries and allowances until the fiscal situation of the state improves”.

However, he argued that “the crisis of compensation in Nigeria is made worse by the unacceptable gap between the prohibitive tax- free pay of legislators, Governors and political office holders on one hand and miserable pay of public civil servants”, pointing out that “Nigeria workers are among the least paid in the world based on either national currency or purchasing power parity, which adjusts the national currency wages for the differential cost of living of the relevant nations.

“We therefore call on other political office holders at all levels to emulate Governor El Rufai and his deputy by offering leadership by sacrifices instead of giving excuses for non-payment of workers’ salaries. Governor El Rufai and his deputy have shown that if there is the will there will be the ways to offer good governance”.

Meanwhile, the labour chief has pledged support for President Muhammadu Buhari in redressing most of the problems that have confronted the nation and depressed the domestic economy.

He commended President Buhari for the assurances given to Nigerians, to remain committed to revamping the country’s economy and also fight corruption in order to bring back the nation’s vibrant economy.

Aremu who is also the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Textiles Workers Union said, “the union and the generality of our members congratulate the new President of Nigeria, on his successful swearing in as the 4th democratically elected President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in this dispensation”, saying that it was “remarkable that the President frontally named some national problems, and It is only by naming the problems that we can shame and tame them.

“We are with President Buhari that it is indeed …a shame that with over s$20bn investment in the power sector since 1999, Nigeria generates less than 4,000 MW. Labour will partner with the new President to realize the vision of uninterrupted power supply”.

The labour leader argued, “Without electricity there can be no industrialization”, pointing out, “the promise and expectation that the President will revive textile industry is not possible without electricity.

“It is refreshing that President Buhari recognizes the role of non-state institutions such as labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations in the great task of national renewal. Labour will partner with new administration in wealth generation, service delivery and income distribution through social dialogue and collective bargaining with the existing labour market institutions.

“It is commendable that President Buhari has promised to reform and re-build the public service and check gross corruption in the states and local governments.

“Labour appreciates this inclusive orientation. However Reform should ensure greater service delivery and productivity and not lead to job losses in an already depressed labour market characterized by high unemployment. The challenges of development in Nigeria call for more jobs in both public and private sectors of the economy. Labour assures the new President of cooperation in the direction of wealth generation, job creation and job retention”.

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