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Minimum wage: We’re working internally to fast-track process, Osifo assures

Urges FG to address fuel crisis by tackling logistics issues

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, has assured Nigerians that labour is actively working to push the federal government to announce a new minimum wage soon.

Osifo said discussions between labour and the Federal Government are ongoing and that President Bola Tinubu will submit the bill for a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly after these consultations.

Speaking at the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) Women Commission’s maiden Annual Convention in Abuja on Tuesday, Osifo said, “The minimum wage negotiations cannot be dead. The 2019 minimum wage (that has expired) took about two years to see the light of day. We started the negotiations in 2017.”

“We promised you when we started in January (this year) that we would ensure this one is fast-tracked so we won’t face the same delays we experienced in 2019, which took two years.”

“We submitted our divergent positions in June. Afterward, Mr President stated that he wanted to consult across board, including the governors, local government chairmen, the organised private sector, and labour. We are currently engaging in outreach and conversations.”

“We are working internally to ensure that a minimum wage bill that caters to the poorest of the poor is submitted to the National Assembly in earnest soon. We are still insisting on the ₦250,000 benchmark as the ideal minimum wage.”

Osifo, also the President of PENGASSAN, urged the Federal Government to resolve the fuel crisis by addressing logistical challenges. He stated that the country would face fuel shortages until these issues are resolved.

Read also: Minimum wage negotiations: Tinubu to meet with organised labour

“About a week ago, if you were driving between Aviele and Auchi, you would realise that some people sleep on that road for days. The road is completely cut off. So if you are bringing fuel from Port Harcourt to Abuja, you need to pass through that road, depending on your point of origin.”

“The roads are currently in terrible condition. If you look at other parts of the world, how many countries use tankers to supply Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or Automotive Gas Oil (AGO)? It is not done. Pipelines are the standard, and in some cases, they use rail. In some Western countries, you see railway lines with over 2,000 tanks. Whether it is the rainy or dry season, it works fine.”

“Until we embrace technology and fix our pipelines and oil depots – because that is also key – we will continue to have these challenges. If the depots across Nigeria were all functional, we could have reserve stocks. Then, when our roads are bad, we can utilise those depots closer to the cities for supplies. When the roads are good, you can restock them and go back to business as usual.”

“We must be able to deepen the facilities of the oil and gas logistics. If we don’t, we will perennially have these challenges. Last year, the whole of Lokoja was cut off. So for tankers coming from Lagos, Calabar, Abeokuta, Port Harcourt, where would they pass? It would be difficult. We must sit down and redefine our distribution value chain in the oil and gas sector.”

Ada Mbanaso, the National Chairperson of the PENGASSAN Women Commission, stated that the commission has positively impacted the lives of numerous women and children in different communities.

“Initiatives such as ‘Back-to-School’ projects, donations to orphanages and old people’s homes, empowerment of widows and small-scale business owners, celebration of boy/girl child on Children’s Day, skills acquisition programmes for women in rural areas, and menstrual hygiene/mental health campaigns exemplify the commission’s commitment to social responsibility and community development,” she said.

Mbanaso added that the PENGASSAN Women Commission is dedicated to advocating for the progress of women within PENGASSAN and beyond.

“We are passionate about expanding our advocacy efforts, promoting gender equity, empowering more women to take up leadership roles, fostering a supportive environment for professional development, and addressing emerging challenges faced by women in our industry,” Mbanaso said.

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