Minimum Wage: What Labour, Federal Govt Should Do – Pat Utomi

A renowned political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi has advised Organised Labour and the Federal Government to take advantage of the new minimum wage negotiation to move Nigeria down the path of thrift and production.

He urged Labour to demand the slash in the cost of governance and also advised the Federal government to call for accountability from the workers.

He insisted that consequences for corruption must be established to keep workers in check.

Utomi said: “Labour must insist on a dramatic slash in the cost of government and investment of the savings made in production programmes and infrastructure.

“This is to facilitate and sustain the value chain of the output based on our latent comparative advantage from strong factor endowments.

“On its part, the government should establish what it is paying for. Is it paying as welfare for people who just show up?

“Output targets need to be established and hard consequences for abuse of positions like corruption and begging on the job from customers.”.

He said that a benchmark for civil society monitoring of both parties also needed to be established with clearly outlined consequences.

According to him, the government needs to also come up with bold initiatives that drive the transition to production in the way the Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) attempted to do in the mid 1970s.

He said that future adjustments to minimum wage weighed heavily on productivity improvements.

Once a proper framework is established now the template to plug in productivity gains should be activated.

“It should not be a matter of sentiment or mood of the leaders on both sides,” he added.

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