Hope for universal minimum wage increase dims as Osinbajo hints at selective approach
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Hope for universal minimum wage increase dims as Osinbajo hints at selective approach

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government may opt for increasing the remuneration package of workers in the form of bonuses for select agencies of government, as against the universal wage benchmark review option being proposed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

From the transcript presented to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, Osinbajo expressed the view at the ongoing Nigerian Bar Association National Conference in Lagos on Monday, during a session titled, ‘Conversation with the Vice-President’.

Osinbajo noted that though the issue of increased minimum wage for workers was a good idea, the government was “in a bind of sorts”, adding that government was spending 70 per cent of its revenues on remuneration and overheads, leaving less than 30 per cent for capital expenditure.

Read also: Sharp fall in company income tax triggers decline in govt’s July revenue by N183.26bn

He said, “Sometimes, it is a chicken and egg situation because in order to increase revenues, we need to increase remuneration.

“I think that what we are probably going to end up doing is what we have done with some of the parastatals; in other words, identifying certain government services that must be remunerated differently in order to increase efficiency. One of the revenue generating agencies, for instance, is the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

“Improving remuneration, especially bonuses, would do a lot of good. That we saw happen in Lagos with the Lagos Inland Revenue Service, where because there were bonuses, there was improvement in revenue and reform. People were able to do better, even in our judicial system. Because we paid better; we remunerated better, people were able to improve.”

It is not clear how this development will impact the still-pending negotiation process between the federal government and the NLC on reviewing the national minimum wage upwards.

 

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