The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari has boosted workers’ morale with his new year message.
Ngige, who pointed out that the ruling government inherited a demoralised and restive workforce in 2015, said the government has succeeded in re-energising Nigerian workers.
The minister stated this during his New Year message to the workers issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media, Nwachukwu Obidiwe. According to him, the understanding showed by workers over the challenges the federal government has faced in repositioning the economy and sanitising the polity since 2015 is commendable.
In appreciation of their understanding, Ngige said the federal government made enormous sacrifices to protect the workers and secure their future.
“The workforce we inherited in 2015 was one seriously demoralised by decade-long unpaid salaries and allowances; a restive workforce with simmering agitations and perennial threats of strikes. It was a workforce challenged down by private sector retrenchments and varying unfair labour practices,” he said.
The minister stated that the federal government did not only clear backlogs of workers’ salaries and allowances in record time, it also granted state governments bailout funds to enable them clear theirs.
While noting that the president also gave an express directive that no worker serving in the federal civil or public service should be retrenched in the foreboding economic downturn that resulted in recession notwithstanding, he said the ruling government has restored stability to the service.
“We moved decisively into the private sector and defused raging gale of retrenchment in the oil and gas, construction and the financial sectors of the economy through a ventilated social dialogue that saved millions of jobs that were already put on the line.”
He added that the ruling government, despite the teething problems, initiated and implemented the new national minimum wage and “its consequential adjustment and set up a five-man Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages with prospects of a general wage review and a pivotal focus on re-evaluation of service to synchronise work and earnings with productivity as denominator”.
He challenged workers to be honest and diligent in their work while exhorting Nigerians on the virtues of love and unity as a key to building a strong and prosperous nation.