The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Mr. Donald Duke has called on the Federal Government to find a comprehensive and long term solution to the lingering minimum wage crisis in the country.
The current “fire brigade” response, according to Mr. Duke, is tantamount to giving a short term solution to a long term problem.
Such an approach, he said, is inherently faulty and unsustainable hence the incessant resurgence of the issue with every federal government administration.
He therefore advocated for a holistic and systemic approach to addressing the issue, stressing that “the best approach to solving this lingering problem is to identify and address the real needs of civil servants such as food, housing, transportation, health, children’s education, security rather than focusing on salary increases”.
The SDP Presidential candidate cited the highly subsidized Metro Blue public transportation scheme he introduced for civil servants as the Governor of Cross River State which helped to cut down the transportation cost of civil servants in the state during his administration.
Mr. Duke also advocated for a shared ownership of the process and solutions to the issue through an effective dialogue between Labour and government taking into consideration all the variables including revenue accruing to government as well as national priorities vis a viz the needs of the civil servants.
Mr. Duke urged government to involve all the stakeholders including THE Organised Private Sector and state governments in the negotiation process as they have an equally important stake being that they also employ reasonable number of workers.
He called for a periodic review of salaries every ten years, taking into cognizance variables such as inflation as anything done otherwise may have negative economic consequence including but not limited to downsizing the labor force
The presidential candidate advised government to invest more of its energy in creating wealth by developing a production economy, rather than a consumption one.
The presidential candidate opined that this is the only way of forestalling the incessant agitation and demand for wage increase and the consequent result of threats of strikes.