May Day: Saraki Extols Nigerian Workers …As Dogara Calls For Salary Increase …TRCN, NMA Task Govt On Welfare

Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike addressing journalists, at Government House, Port Harcourt over plot to frame him up, last Saturday.

As Nigerian workers join the global comradeship to commemorate this year’s May Day, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki has described Nigerian workers as the pillars and driving force of the nation in view of their invaluable contributions to national development.
Saraki made this known in a message signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja at the weekend to mark this year’s 2017 Workers’ Day celebration.
He lauded the resilience and commitment of workers in both the formal and informal sectors, describing their contributions to the nation and the economy as “priceless’’.
“From the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that contribute over 47 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to the civil servants who are the driving force behind our government; “all the way to the unregistered business owners who work to make a living for themselves and their families, every Nigerian worker in both the formal and informal sectors makes a priceless contribution to the sustainability of our nation.
“As we mark this year’s Workers’ Day, all Nigerian workers should be proud that their significant contributions keep this nation moving forward as they are the lifeblood of our country, an integral part of the fabric that makes up our society,” he said.
Saraki said that the Senate would continue to work to establish and enhance all legislations that would guarantee the safety and well-being of Nigerian workers.
He also emphasised  the need for government across all levels and participants in the private sector to work toward ensuring that workers received their salaries and pensions as and when due.
“As a result of globalisation, the Nigerian workforce is no longer competing with itself. We are now competing with our counterparts from both developing and developed nations.
“With this in mind, it is necessary that all employers, those in the public and private sectors, work to continuously invest in the development of their employees,’’ he said.
Saraki said the upper chamber would continue to partner with Nigerian workers to enact legislation that would guarantee that they got their dues at the appropriate time.
Also, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, yesterday said that increasing workers’ salary had become necessary in view of the rising cost of living in the country.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day, Dogara said that the House was committed to passing a new minimum wage bill.
The speaker reiterated the resolve of the parliament to enact a new wage bill for Nigerian workers.
“I wish to congratulate the entire Nigerian workers as they join their counterparts the world over in commemorating the International Workers’ Day.
“While commending you for your commitment to the service and building of the nation, I wish to assure you that the National Assembly remains committed to the passage of the National Minimum Wage Bill when presented by the executive,” Dogara said.
The speaker further stressed that the eight House of Representatives in particular, was committed to initiating other laws and legislative interventions that would promote the welfare and well being of Nigerian workers.
Dogara, however, enjoined workers, especially civil servants to rededicate themselves to duty and support government’s laudable policies and programmes.
“As you mark this historic day, I wish to remind Nigerians of the sacrifices made by the working class in nation building.
“I urge you to commit yourselves to doing even more in supporting government’s activities that will better the lots of our citizens,” Dogara said.
Similarly, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) has tasked state governments to prioritise teachers’ salaries and welfare to improve the standard of education in the country.
Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, TRCN Registrar, gave the advice in an interview with newsmen against the backdrop of the Labour Day celebration in Abuja yesterday.
“Teachers welfare should be paramount to our various governments.
“We want our governors to please wake up; the education of our children is important; the future of the country is in the hands of these teachers; when they are not well taken care of, they cannot put in their best.
“We are advocating at the level of TRCN, as professional teachers, these teachers must be respected, their welfare must be taken care of by the various government and we must value them appropriately.
“We want a situation where they will recognise teachers at the Labour Day celebration so that we will encourage those who are in that profession.’’
He, however, commended the Federal Government for putting in place measures to ensure that the quality of teaching and teachers in the country was improved.
In another development,  the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to shelve its planned harmonisation of salaries of health workers in the country.
The association’s position is contained in a communiqué issued by Dr Mike Ogirima, President of NMA, on Sunday at the end of the 57th Annual General Meeting and Delegate Conference of the association, held in Calabar, from April 24 to 29 .
It noted although health workers faced many hazards in the discharge of their duties, their output could not be compared to doctors who performed the bulk of the medical services.
“There is an attempt to harmonise the salaries and the Federal Ministry of Health is at the lead of that attempt, which is currently causing a lot of disharmony in the health sector.
“Medical doctors are highly skilled and few in the country; the cut-off mark for medical students now is 280 and above. Everybody wants to accept that title of doctor in the medical set up; we are not against that.
“What we are against is the fact that everybody cannot be equated to be equal. In the animal kingdom, all animals are equal; but some are more equal than others,” it said.
The association said that it was not against moves to enhance the welfare of other health workers, but insisted that relativity should be maintained.
“We are not saying that the welfare of other medical workers should not be taken care of, but that relativity should be maintained when we talk of salaries of health workers in the hospitals.
“The NMA is calling on government to evaluate different professionals in the health sector and audit the output they put at work.
“With that, there will be more objective data and statistics to buttress our point, asking for maintenance of the relativity,” it added.
The communiqué also lamented the deteriorating state of infrastructures in public health institutions across the country and called on governments at all levels, to place premium on developing the sector.
It called on the Federal Government to be proactive by having a strong rapid emergency response team to handle outbreak of diseases, just as it stressed the need to  resume local production of vaccines in the country.
On the outbreak of Cerebral Spinal Meningitis across the country, the NMA condemned the poor handling of the outbreak of the disease in some states.
Our correspondent reports that the NMA also ratified the adoption of the association’s seal/stamp for medical practitioners to check quackery in the profession.