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Minimum Wage: Ajumbe Slams Labor For ‘Lack of Empathy’

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Prof. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, a former Imo State Commissioner, has voiced his disappointment at the NLC and TUC’s “out-of-touch” demand for a N250,000 minimum wage, urging them to consider the everyday challenges faced by Nigerians in their negotiations.

With a hint of frustration, Prof. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, former Commissioner for Internally Generated Revenue, IGR and Pensions, has spoken out against the NLC and TUC’s push for a N250,000 minimum wage, labeling it a “pie-in-the-sky” dream that neglects the harsh realities facing the country. He argued that their demands are “unrealistic and unsustainable”, citing his experience in managing public funds.

In a press briefing on Saturday in Abuja, Prof. Ajumbe spoke candidly to journalists, arguing that Labour Unions have misplaced priorities. Instead of pushing for an unrealistic minimum wage, they should be demanding the revival of the Ajaokuta Steel Industry and other critical infrastructure that would boost internally generated revenue, he contended.

Read also: NLC Gives Otti 14-Day Ultimatum To Pay ₦30,000 Minimum Wage

Prof. Ajumbe further emphasized that even the Federal Government’s proposed N62,000 minimum wage was conceded under pressure, and may be unfeasible for some states with limited revenue. He stressed that the economic realities of various states must be considered in the negotiations.

He said: “The government should not be pushed to accept what they know they cannot handle, how many states can pay, how much is their IGR that can pay.

“If you use all the money for salary, then there will be no infrastructure or development, I was the Commissioner for IGR, and it will be difficult for states to pay 62,000 Naira, it will create higher inflation and job losses.

“The price of goods will go up, house rent will increase and civil servants will go to their villages, what about the artisans that are not covered, does it mean that the private sector will not pay it? It will lead to job loss which is not good. Let me ask the labour president how much he is paying his driver, gateman and cook.

“Labour should concentrate more on issues that will make the government cut down corruption.

Prof. Ajumbe, drawing on his experience as ANPP chairman, urged governments to remain resolute and not succumb to demands for a minimum wage that is unaffordable. He emphasized the need for fiscal discipline and a realistic approach to the negotiations.

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