By Lawrence Olaoye
The hope of Nigerian workers seeking a raise in the national minimum wage were raised yesterday when the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, admitted that they are being underpaid.
Osinbajo said this while declaring a seminar tagged ‘’Journalists and Retirement Plan” organised by the State House Correspondents yesterday.
Chairman, Heirs Foundation, Tony Elumelu,who was the Guest Speaker at the event, also counseled journalists to plan ahead of their retirement.
The Vice President regretted that most private sector operators in the country, especially publishers and media owners, do not consider the payment of journalists as a priority.
Osinbajo said Nigerian workers are generally being grossly underpaid and as such are perpetually condemned into penury.
He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari and himself earn less that some Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) monthly.
According to him, the President earns only about N1.7 million monthly while he was being paid N1.5 million.
According to him, most public servants and private workers spend more than they earn just as he insisted that something must be done to ensure that living salaries are paid and timeously too.
He said public sector earnings must be scrutinised to determine what workers should be paid.
“Generally speaking people are poorly paid. So, there is need to look at why people are poorly paid. Public sector earning must be looked at and determined what should be paid and what is right for people to earn,” he said.
The Vice President said all employers must be compelled to key into the contributory pension scheme.
Elumelu, in his remarks, told journalists to first identify their passions and follow same with determination to attain their purpose.
According to him, journalists should view retirement as an opportunity for transition for them to chart a new course in life urging them to study their professional ecosystem and plunge in to make a difference.
He regretted that most aids coming into the country from donor agencies are being misapplied.
Elumelu appealed to donor agencies to channel their funds into endeavours that could create jobs for teeming unemployed people not only in Nigeria but in Africa.
The philanthropist lamented that the level of unemployment and poverty in the country was appalling stressing that government and public spirited individuals must work hard to create the enabling environment for job creation.
Elumelu said the migration of youths to Libya through the Mediterranean Sea could be avoided if jobs are created and life made meaningful in the country.