By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
Vice President President Yemi Osinbajo has decried that the private sector does not respect the minimum wage set by the Federal government.
This is just as he said journalists in the country with poor remuneration cannot live a decent life.
He spoke yesterday in Abuja during an end-of-year seminar of the State House Press Corps with the theme: ‘Journalists and Retirement Plans’.
He, however said although remunerations were generally poor in the country, the case of journalists was unique because many media owners are making the revenues but simply refuse to pay journalists better as and when due.
While noting that he earns about N1.5m as Vice-President, President Muhammadu Buhari earns about N1.75 million,he said it does not commensurate with the offices they occupy.
He said, “I realized first of all that this is not a profession from which one could make a decent living in the first place unless you find a really good way of doing so. “But more importantly for me was the fact that you are just on your own. Journalism as a profession is so wide open .
“There are a few reasons in my view why remuneration is poor and why those in the media especially those who are formally engaged, I will show you that it is not your profession and why that is the case. “The first is that it is just simply cheating. There are owners of media that are just cheats.
“They just want to get something from nothing and that is not uncommon, it is a general malaise, it is not necessarily restricted to the media. “It is also the same in the legal profession. There many lawyers if they tell you what they earn, you will certainly not want to be a lawyer.
“The private sector does not respect the minimum wage. Even if a minimum wage is set nationally it is not necessarily respected by the private sector and this is something that should be factored in to the status of a company and whether a company is even complying with the requirements.
“In other places these are points which are checked when you are being considered for task, whether you are meeting your task or not. That is not the case here, so we need to enforce that.
“We need to enforce some kind of adherence to the minimum wage structure. Not just the minimum wage of the lowest paid person, but minimum wages across the board especially so that there is certain amount of regulation of how people are paid and how they are paid. “Entry into journalism is not vigorously enforced.
Most professions are able to pay better because there is entry requirements that are rigorously enforced, Perhaps not the case in journalism and for good reason. “There are those who are formally trained as journalists but the profession will admit anybody at all even if you are not formally trained as a journalist and that is even becoming more so now with social media platforms, with blogs,” he stated.
Chairman of the occasion and Nasarawa state governor , Tanko al-Makura, represented by the state Commissioner of Information, Mohammed Kwara, said a good retirement plan starts the day one is employed.
He said: “On the whole, it is important to note that a good retirement plan starts the very day you are employed knowing that whatever has a beginning has an end. 35 or 60 mandatory years of service are certainly not eternity. “It must also be stressed here that it is not too late to plan even where you have just few years to retire from service.
“The most important thing is that you have a plan either of money saved or of the job you intend to carry after on retirement. Put every other factor in place such as your age, strength and the mental capacity to carry on.”