Speaking Thursday while addressing the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) members, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki declared that the country can no longer continue with the present N18, 000 minimum wage for workers.
Saraki who made the declaration to the labour leaders who protested to the National Assembly for Good governance and support for the fight against corruption, said with the high exchange rate and inflation in the country, the government is left with no option than to adjust the current minimum wage to enable the workers cope with the present harsh economic realities.
He said; ‘The challenges are enormous. I commend your action. Part of the contributions you are making is the sacrifice you have made today. This is your second time here and it is because of the respect I have for you that made me to come out myself to see you since I am around.
‘As many times you have been coming, I have come out to receive you because I agree with you that we have problem in the land. Yes, we have problem and for that we have to make our country better. ‘The challenges are enormous and already, I believe that there is hunger in the land.
Today, as you all have observed, the exchange rate is high, the inflation is high, the price of food have gone up. The only thing that has remained low is the salaries. We cannot continue like that. ‘What we need to do is to sit down and work out how we are going to make the necessary adjustments because we go to the same market and it is no fault of yours that things are the way they are.'
On good governance, Saraki said; ‘We have agreed in the Senate to ensure good governance is upheld by this administration. We fear nobody, there is challenge and, there is a sacrifice to it. But we are ready to shoulder the responsibility.
‘Before now, nobody talked about the NEITI report. The NEITI used to be swept under the floor but this National Assembly brought forward the latest NEITI report that revealed the $50 billion unremitted by the multi-nationals. We are asking that you leave the man that stole billions and pursuing the man that stole millions to come and answer?
‘I want to assure you that we are determined to tackle bad governance. We cannot continue the old way. It is now time for action. Those of you that know me, I am not a man that say, what I cannot do, I keep quiet.
It is time for action. By the next time I will be addressing you like this, I will be talking about the action.’