The newspapers for Thursday, January 10, revolve around the tussle between the presidential candidates of the APC and the PDP over the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari at the burial of fallen military heroes, the presidency's resolve to review the salaries of workers earning above minimum wage, and the federal government's advisory committee to oversee same.
There has been series of word exchange between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar over the absence of the former during the burial ceremony of fallen military heroes killed by Boko Haram insurgents in 2018.
Vanguard reports that Atiku, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s flag bearer, has said that he will use massive job creation to fight against and end the menace of insecurity and insurgency in the country, adding that President Buhari's absence at the funeral service of the dead soldiers is not befitting for his officer as the command-in-chief of the armed forces.
Atiku said: "At the time when the morale of our soldiers should be lifted up as they face the difficult task of defeating the terrorists who are threatening our national security, I find it most regrettable that President Muhammadu Buhari, despite being in Abuja, chose not to attend the funeral of the five air force officers who died in a helicopter crash while prosecuting the war on terror."
On his part, President Muhammadu Buhari replied Atiku by saying that the PDP administration was responsible for creating the avenue for killings, corruption and insecurity in the country, claiming that the fund that was supposed to be used to fight insurgency was embezzled by the opposition during its regime.
The Nation on its front page has the report of the federal government's resolve to renegotiate the salaries of civil servants who are earning above the much talked about minimum wage.
During the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Wednesday, January 9, President Muhammadu Buhari said that the salaries of workers earning above the current minimum wage will be renegotiated.
At the weekly FEC meeting, the president appointed Bismarck Rewane as head of the new technical advisory committee on the implementation of a national minimum wage.
The president revealed that after the new minimum wage had been passed into law, the federal government will go into negotiations for salary review for all the workers already earning higher than the wage.
He stressed on the need to adequately pre-inform those who are most likely to be affected by the review in order to avoid problems or complaints when the proposal it is eventually implemented.
The Guardian reports that the appointment of the advisory committee came a day after the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) staged a nationwide protest on the new minimum wage bill.
So far, it is not certain whether the review of the salaries of federal government workers will be upward or otherwise. But the president on Wednesday announced that the the renegotiation will take place shortly after the new minimum wage bill is signed and passed to the National Assembly.
Concerning the issue, the president said: “At the federal level, we have made adequate provision for the increase in the minimum wage in our 2019 budget proposals, which we submitted to the National Assembly. Therefore, we will be able to meet the additional costs that will be incurred in moving up all personnel who are currently earning below the new minimum wage.
“We anticipate that after the new minimum wage has been passed into law, we will be going into negotiations for salary review for all the workers who are already earning above the new minimum wage. It is therefore important that we are properly prepared to meet these demands.”
“I want to make it clear that there is no question about whether the national minimum wage will be reviewed upwards. I am committed to a review of the minimum wage.”
Still on the review of salaries of workers earning above minimum wage, This Day reports that at the announcement of the federal government's readiness to positively look into the new minimum wage issue, President Muhammadu Buhari raised the hopes of workers, adding that the wage increase had become a matter of inevitability.
Speaking at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said: “I want to make it clear that there is no question about whether the National Minimum Wage will be reviewed upwards. I am committed to a review of the Minimum Wage.”
However, the president remarked that there will be a review of the salaries of federal government workers whose packages are already above the N30,000 new minimum wage that has remained a bone of contention between the presidency and organised labour.
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Taking the issue further, Punch reports that there are indications that a clash between state governors and the presidency might ensue if President Muhammadu Buhari goes ahead with N30,000 as the new national minimum wage without considering the states’ ability to maintain it.
The governors stated that they had informed the president about the financial crisis the proposed N30,000 minimum wage would bring to their states if it is signed at the National Assembly, adding that they had sent to the president a financial analysis of how the upward review would affect not less than 30 states.
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