Senate President Bukola Saraki has described Nigerian workers as the life-blood and driving force of the nation’s development in view of their invaluable contributions to the nation’s economy. He urged all state governments owing workers in their employ to pay up and ameliorate the suffering of the workers who have families to cater for.
His position was reinforced by the national leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which said on Sunday that the Federal Government is committed to providing good working conditions for workers, which was one of the reasons why the government has twice provided bailout funds to states so that workers’ salaries can be paid even as the nation continues the gradual recovery from economic recession.
Saraki’s position on the fate of the Nigerian workers was contained in a statement issued by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day.
The APC made known its position in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi.
Saraki expressed support of the parliament to the Nigerian workers in and out of government employment, assuring that the parliament is considering legislations that will make it mandatory that workers get their benefits at the right time.
“From the SMEs that contribute over 47 percent to our GDP, to the civil servants who are the driving force behind our government, all the way to the unregistered business owners who work to make a living for themselves and their families, every Nigerian worker in both the formal and informal sectors makes a priceless contribution to the sustainability of our nation.
“As we mark this year’s Workers’ Day, all Nigerian workers should be proud that their significant contributions keep this nation moving forward — as they are the lifeblood of our country, an integral part of the fabric that makes up our society,” he said.
Saraki also stated that the Senate will continue to work to establish and enhance all legislation that will guarantee the safety and well-being of Nigerian workers, while also emphasising on the need for governments across all levels and participants in the private sector to work towards ensuring that workers receive their salaries and pensions as at when due while necessary periodic training should be availed them to make workers competitive in a changing world.
“As a result of globalisation, the Nigerian workforce is no longer competing with itself, we are now competing with our counterparts from both developing and developed nations.
“With this in mind, it is necessary that all employers — those in the public and private sectors — work to continuously invest in the development of their employees.
“On our part, the Nigerian Senate will continue to partner with Nigerian workers to enact legislation that will guarantee that they get their dues at the appropriate time, that their safety and well-being in the workplace are reassured.
“All these are necessary because when our workers are well taken care of, our businesses thrive, our economy grows, and our nation continues to succeed,” the Senate President said.
APC Appreciates Workers
Bolaji Abdullahi in the statement signed on behalf of the APC said the party appreciates all Nigerian workers for their resilience and support for the government, with a promise that the government will continue doing all it can so that the living condition of the workers can get better.
“Without doubts, the economic recession has had a telling effect on the livelihoods of many working families and businesses in the country.
“We are, however, happy to note that the country’s economy is gradually coming out of recession and the APC assures Nigerians that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to work hard to improve the livelihood of every citizen.
“The task of improving workers welfare; creating a conducive business environment to attract investments and grow existing businesses; and creating jobs is a tripartite collaborative effort between trade/labour unions, private sector players and government.
“The APC government has aggressively formulated and implemented policies that support businesses to grow so that we have truly rewarding jobs for all. The administration is also committed to improving the living condition of all citizens.
“Faced with crisis of inability to pay salaries by most states of the country, we recall that the Federal Government twice had bailed out the states to ensure that workers do not suffer unduly.
Reps Assure Workers
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives’ Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, has assured workers that the House is committed to passing a new minimum wage bill.
The speaker made this known in a statement to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day, reiterating the resolve and commitment of the 8th National Assembly to enacting the New Minimum Wage Bill for Nigerian workers.
He said that increasing workers’ salary and wages has become necessary in view of the current inflation, naira devaluation and rising cost of living.
“I wish to congratulate the entire Nigerian workers as they join their counterparts the world over in commemorating the International Workers’ Day. While commending you for your sacrifice and commitment to the service and building of the nation, I wish to assure you that the National Assembly and in particular, the 8th House of Representatives, remains committed to the passage of the National Minimum Wage Bill when presented by the executive and initiating other laws and legislative interventions that will promote the welfare and well being of Nigerian workers”, Dogara said in a statement from his media office.
He, however, enjoined workers, especially civil servants, to rededicate themselves to duty and support government’s laudable policies and programmes, saying, “As you mark this historic day, I wish to remind Nigerians of the sacrifices made by the working class in nation building and commit yourselves to doing even more in supporting government’s activities that will better the lots of our citizens”.