President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with members of the organised private sector not to retrench their workers in a bid to pay the new N30,000 national minimum wage.
The President, who said this when he addressed the Lagos Business Community on the sidelines of his presidential campaign, also assured Nigerian workers that he was committed to ensure the payment of a new national minimum wage to better the lives of the citizenry. He said he would continue to stand firm with the workers on the implementation of a new minimum wage.
Present at the meeting were members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), other captains of industries and financial experts.
President Buhari stunned his audience when he turned down the usual standing ovation, asking them to rather sit down and hear another story he had to tell about the National Minimum Wage.
President Buhari said he had been in support of a New Minimum Wage right from the start because of the prevailing inflationary rate and the rising cost of living since the last Minimum Wage came into effect in 2011.
However, he said that he had little reservation which an Hausa folklore would best express. He said though he was not Hausa, rather a mixture of Fulani by father and Kanuri by mother, the Daura where he was born and grew up was a pure Hausa settlement. The folklore, the President narrated was about a certain mentally deranged Hausa woman who went to the bush to fetch firewood.
“The woman after tying a load of firewood, discovered she would not be able to lift it, yet certain passersby urged her to gather more firewood since she had so many people to feed. “The woman paid heed and gathered even more firewood and ended up not being able to either lift her initial load of firewood or the later additions,’’ the President narrated.
He recalled that many states as well as private sector players could not pay the existing Minimum Wage, which prompted the Federal Government to give bailout to some states. President Buhari, therefore, appealed for the commitment of all stakeholders to ensure the smooth implementation of the new wage without retrenchment and its consequent adverse social effects. 0000100000feff