Even as some states are yet to fully implement the current N18,000 national minimum wage, Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Isa Aremu has demanded an upward review with immediate effect.
Aremu spoke as the guest speaker at the Third Estate Annual dinner in Ilorin on a topic “Some Notes on Human Resource as a Critical Factor in National Development.”
He said “To appreciate human resource, we must motivate the labour which constitutes the great resource. We must ensure workers are paid well and on time. It should be noted that delay of salary is the same as wage theft.
“The national minimum wage is due for a review next year. The 2010 National Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage headed by Justice SMA Belgore GCON recommended that to avoid ad-hoc approach, the minimum wage is supposed to be reviewed every 5years. It is due this year! Time to review this is Now!”
He regretted that despite the quantitative strength of Nigeria in human resources, in both policy and governance discourse, the country has almost redefined resources as oil and gas in Nigeria and mineral resources. We have increasingly relegated human resources to the margin in the hierarchy of critical success factors for development.
In that light, Aremu suggested that Nigeria should declare emergency on secondary education with a view to re-motivate school teachers for educational service delivery arguing “Nigerian secondary education system is terribly sick and requires an urgent, full-scale diagnosis, and deserving physicians. All state governors should be held accountable for the performance of their students.”
In addition, “local government edits and state laws must make primary schooling compulsory. The state laws must also criminalize and penalize parents that do not allow their wards to go schools in the 21st century.”
The man who is also Secretary General, Alumni Association of the National Institute lamented that before the current dependence on oil and at a time Nigeria was driven by human resources, Nigeria was a fast developing nation.
“In 1965 for instance, Nigeria’s GDP was $5.8 billion, compared with $3.8 billion for Indonesia, and $3.1 billion for Malaysia. Thirty years later, in 1995, Nigeria’s GDP had increased to $26.8 billion (3.6 fold increase), Malaysia’s to $85 billion (27 fold increase), Indonesia’s to $198 billion (52 fold increase) and Venezuela to $75 billion (20 fold increase).
“The implication is that these countries have left Nigeria far behind in terms of productivity, income generation and general economic development”, and advised that the challenge lies in reinvention of the human resources in Nigeria.
He observed that the human resources and skilled labour in particular are the most critical to manage other resources to improve the quantity and quality of production and quality of life.
“Indeed it can be argued that where critical human resources are lacking in quality, other factors can hardly add value to development. States can borrow billions of Naira as most states do, but the human managers might divert the funds for the indulgence of the leaders such as buying private jets rather than proving basics like water and motorable roads.”
Himself a product of Ilorin Grammar School, Aremu commended past and present efforts of the town’s indigenes in promoting human qualitative human resource through establishment of educational institutions mostly through communal efforts.
Speaking earlier, President of The Third Estate, Dr. Yusuf Lawal lamented the current spate of unemployment and insecurity in Kwara State and the country in general.
“Nigeria is at a critical juncture of its nationhood. The country is faced with numerous challenges ranging from sectarian violence in the North East and other forms of insecurity in various parts of the country, health and economic challenges and the 2015 General Election with all the dangers and fears it portends.”
As a way of stemming the tide in the state, Yusuf disclosed that the group in August organised a conference to address security challenge in the Ilorin Emirate, which looked at the phenomenal increase in the number of miscreants masquerading as area boys and good boys of politicians.
“We are currently at the implementation stage and Insha Allah, we shall achieve some results to reduce crime and criminality in our community by working together with the state apparatuses that have responsibility for security”, he stated.