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Wage award: A step-forward — Agagu, Fasuwon

By Saheed Ibrahim

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Academic scholars have commended President Bola Tinubu for the N25,000 pay rise for low grade Federal officers, describing it as interim measure.

They said it was an evidence that the president was in tune with what is happening in the society unlike his predecessors.

They, however, said the money is not enough compare with the economic reality in the country.

President Bola Tinubu had in his 63 independence anniversary broadcast to the citizens announced payment of N25,000 to low wage federal workers for the next six months to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.

Political Scientist at Ekiti State University, Prof. Akinsola Agagu, described the token as interim measure to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.

He pointed out that unlike Muhammadu Buhari’s era, when the implementation of minimum wage took almost two years, added that Tinubu had been able to come up with some measures to address the economic challenges Nigerians currently face.

“If he has taken the initiative for now, it is an improvement on what we have had in the past. It is not just the money alone; he also said they are working to prevent inflation, and that is why there are some attached packages,” he stated.

While mentioning that an additional N25,000 for low-grade federal civil servants was not enough to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal, the political scientist said it gave room for further negotiation.

“This is just an initiative as part of the palliative packages,” he said.

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Regarding the NLC not backing out of the planned strike, Agagu emphasized that the government should strive further to discuss with the NLC, and both parties should be able to reach a compromise.

In his assessment, a Political Scientist, Associate Prof. Bayo Fasunwon, said Tinubu’s speech is evidence that he was aware of the sufferings Nigerians are going through.

However, he stated that adding N25,000 to low-grade federal civil servants is a divisive policy. He pointed out that the money was not added to civil servants across the board, indicating that the presidency is not fully aware that fuel subsidy removal affects not only low-grade civil servants but Nigerians in general.

“Adding N25,000 to workers’ salaries, which may not take place until October ending, is a ploy to divide the NLC, but it isn’t the correct move right now. However, the move to help the informal sector and small-scale enterprises is a positive step.”

Fasunwon observed that the president’s speech was not really an Independence Day speech but just a speech that could be given anytime to relieve the fears of Nigerians. He noted that the only aspects that seemed independent were the salute to the nationalists who gave us the dream of Nigeria and the enforcement of Nigeria’s unity, along with the warning to those contemplating divisive actions to abandon that idea. He acknowledged that the president wants Nigeria to remain united.

However, he highlighted that secessionist agitation is also fueled by economic frustrations.

“Having said that, he has not really provided solutions to our economic frustrations. But if he wants us to hope, let us continue to hope that things will actually get better.

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On the planned NLC strike, Fasunwon remarked that the nationwide strike would reveal the extent of the suffering Nigerians are enduring.

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