Port Harcourt — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has said that the N30,000 minimum wage signed into law by the President yesterday, would be meaningless to average Nigerian due to inflation and lack of basic amenities in the country.
PENGASSAN explained that the issue of inflation and basic amenities in the country, such as well equipped public hospitals, standard public schools, electricity, potable water, transport infrastructure, etc must be addressed for the new minimum wage to be significant.
Speaking exclusively to our correspondent, the Port Harcourt Zonal Chairman of PENGASSAN, Comrade Azubuike Azubuike, said the new minimum wage was not a milestone until the welfare and interest of the masses are met.
Azubuike said it was regrettable that while public schools today have been so much bastardized and made unconducive for learning, the political class and the people within the corridors of political power were all products of public schools.
“N30,000 minimum wage will be meaningless if inflation and basic amenities are not addressed. I always tell people, what we really need are people who have a passion for this country. People who respect and feel the welfare of the citizenry.
“In the second republic, when we didn’t even have much money as a country, people like Lateef Jakande, Ambrose Ali and Sam Mbakwe, were able to do great things not that there was much money but because they had the interest of the masses at heart.
“So when we are talking about N30,000 minimum wage as a milestone, it’s good, but the issue is that there are things that we need to address in order to ensure the N30,000 remains a minimum wage. For instance, if we don’t have efficient social amenities such as pipe-borne water, electricity, functional hospital and schools, the N30,000 means nothing.
“If our government can be able to do what is right, this N30,000 could be said to be something tangible, but when once these basic amenities are not there, then it makes no meaning.”
The Zonal PENGASSAN boss wondered how a family of four people, will be able to get a quality education for their children with N30,000 when public schools have become a shadow of itself.
He maintained that except the issue of basic amenities are addressed, N30,000 minimum wage will be meaningless.
“Again, we are hearing of increased in VAT, which means they are giving us from the right and taking from the left.
“Majority of our politicians and those in government circle passed through government schools and benefited a lot from it. Today, government schools are shadows of themselves. So if those earning N30,000 minimum wage cannot be able to send their children to school with N30,000 then how is that meaningful?
“If we can educate the Nigerian masses, majority of our problems have been solved but once a lot of people remain uneducated and some people keep getting half-baked education, then our problems will keep on multiplying.
“So if these things are not put in place, I can assure that N30,000 minimum wage will be meaningless.”