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FUEL SUBSIDY: PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS DEMAND NEW WAGE

By NBF News
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Workers in the public sector have called on the state governors to review their take home pay to reflect the current state of the cost of living foistered on them by the recent increase in the cost of petrol. In a letter entitled: Increasing cost of living and public sector workers' remuneration, signed by Marcus Omokhuale, national secretary, Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council and addressed to all the state governors, the workers called for urgent opening of a window of negotiations towards establishing a new wage regime for workers that would be in consonance with the current state of their cost of living as a motivator to a higher productivity.

'This is especially in states where the new minimum wage and other salary structures were whittled down, during the negotiation, because of the hitherto lean purse of the various states,' the workers said.

The Joint Council noted that with the income of states now taking a new shape as a result of the increase of PMS pump price from N65 to N97, the governors were implored to fully adopt the new minimum wage in full to shore up workers take home-pay to enable them meet up with some of their immediate responsibilities and reduce the obvious restiveness, as a result of frustration in the system.

The national secretary drew the attention of the governors to the astronomical rise in the cost of living consequent upon the recent hike in fuel pump price and the dire impact on the public servants, whose wages and purchasing power had been drastically undermined.

According to him: 'It is a statement of fact that the growth of an economy depends on reasonable purchasing power for effective demand to be actualized in the market. Equally, workers productivity is motivated by their wages.

'Your Excellency is no doubt aware that the remuneration of workers has lagged far behind the inflation rate and this is being worsened by the steep increase in fuel pump prices.'

The Joint Council scribe stated that as Nigerians, the current situation calls for necessary action to raise remuneration as state policies should be seen to impact on the living standards of the creators of the nation's wealth.

'We are all aware that energy is central to both production and consumption in a modern economy. This is, particularly so, for the movement of prices in a country such as Nigeria, where the level of infrastructural development is abysmal.

'Workers require petrol to power generators, at home as more often than not there is no electricity supply from Power Holding Company of Nigeria

(PHCN).'
The Joint Council believed that it was not an unrealistic demand as governments across the federation, would benefit from the revenue accruing to the Nigerian state from the partial removal of fuel subsidy.

In the same vein, the workers had also condemned the excessive tax (PAYE) being deducted on monthly basis from workers salary.

The PAYE, the council noted, tends to paint a picture of a case of giving with one hand and taking away with another hand.

'For this case, not to look so, there is therefore the dire need for your government to take a serious look into it, with a view to reviewing the existing computation on the basis of which the PAYE is being made,' the council said.


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