The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria has pleaded with the Federal Government to fast-track the processes of ensuring that Nigerian workers received a new minimum wage before the end of this year.
The National President of the association, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, made the call at a two-day National Executive Council meeting of the association on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to Kaigama, there is need to fast-track the implementation of the newly agreed National Minimum Wage to re-assure Nigerians on the issue.
“I strongly want to appeal to the Federal Government to fast-track the processes of enacting the new national minimum wage into law.
“Our expectation is that the government should be able to complete the entire process before the end of this year so that workers who have waited for so long can begin to enjoy a new lease of life.
“The Federal Government is advised to avoid any action that can delay or truncate the process of enacting the new Minimum Wage Act as the consequences of allowing that to happen can be very devastating.’’
Kaigama said, however, that there was need for an upward wage review for the core civil service because of its place as the engine room of the government.
The unionist noted that it was regrettably that civil servants had been receiving the least pay among public sector workers, a development he described as bad for the country.
He said that although civil servants possessed the same qualifications and experience as their counterparts in other government agencies, the salaries of non-civil servant employees were often double that of the civil servants.
“This situation has been made worse since 2010 when salary relatively was carried out in the core civil service.
“No salary increment has been granted to civil servants expect for N900 monthly that was added to the emoluments of senior officers across board after the N18,000 was approved as the National Minimum Wage in 2011.’’.
Kaigama said that to redress the situation, the union had presented a Memorandum on Demand for Upward Wage Review in the Civil Service to the Federal Government.
He called on government to commence negotiation on the memorandum to ensure that civil servants were adequately catered for and compensated for the strategic role they were playing in nation building.
Kaigama also lamented what he described as the delay in the payment of pension and gratuity to retirees in the country.
He noted that one of the fundamental reasons for amending the 2004 Pension Act was to ensure that retirees got their entitlements on time.
The activist noted, however, that almost 14 years after the 2004 Pension Act became operational, the obstacles faced by retires in respect of not getting their entitlements on time had persisted.
“It is, indeed, worrisome that patriotic citizens, who served their fatherland meritoriously for 35 years or attained the retirement age of 60 years while in service cannot be paid their entitlements.
“It must be emphasised that if this trend of subjecting retirees to untold hardship continues, the union will be compelled to begin to consider other trade union actions to seek redress,’’ Kaigama said.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Bello, while opening the meeting, said that government relied on senior civil servants for the formulation and implementation of public policies.
The minister, who was represented by Mr Christian Oha, the Permanent Secretary in the FCT, said the programme came at an auspicious time when government and the Joint Negotiating Council of Trade Unions just concluded discussions on the new minimum wage.
“As we stand on the threshold of a major wage review, perhaps now offers us a great opportunity to consider issues bordering on the productivity level of the public service.
“I will like to urge you all, to also consider ways we could inspire a revolution in the performance level. As we prepare to receive more, we should also prepare to give more,’’he said.