President Bola Tinubu has approved a N25,000 wage increase for “low-grade” federal civil servants over the next six months as part of palliatives to cushion the impact of his removal of petrol subsidy, which has set his government on war path with labour unions.
He has also pledged to hasten the deployment of cheaper and safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses for public transportation and they will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, with a positive effect on transport fares.
The President announced these measures this morning in a dawn national broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary, in which he acknowledged the hardship brought on Nigerians by his recent economic policies.
He noted that another measure to ameliorate the situation is the Infrastructure Support Fund for state governments to invest in critical areas, revealing that States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
According to Tinubu: “There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.
“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.
“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.
“Based on our talks with labour, business and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.
“To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
“Making the economy more robust by lowering transport costs will be key. In this regard, we have opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.
“New CNG conversions kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process. We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs.”
The President announced that his house cleaning and probe of the “den of malfeasance the CBN (Central ank of Nigeria) is well underway with a new leadership for the apex bank.
“My special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.
“Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth”, he stated.
He also highlighted efforts to provide investment funding for enterprises with great potentials, especially increasing investment in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
He disclosed that “commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households”.
On security, Tinubu said that inter-Service collaboration and intelligence sharing have been enhanced while Service Chiefs have been tasked with the vital responsibility of rebuilding the capacities of the security services.
President further pledged that “we shall continue to make key appointments in line with the provisions of the Constitution and with fairness toward all. Women, Youth and the physically challenged shall continue to be given due regard in these appointments”.
He thanked the National Assembly for helping his adminstration take off smoothly through the performance of its constitutional duties of confirmation and oversight, while also congratulating the judiciary as a pillar of democracy and fairness.
The President added: “I also thank members of our dynamic civil society organizations and labour unions for their dedication to Nigerian democracy. We may not always agree but I value your advice and recommendations. You are my brothers and sisters and you have my due respect.
‘Fellow compatriots, the journey ahead will not be navigated by fear or hatred. We can only achieve our better Nigeria through courage, compassion and commitment as one indivisible unit.
“I promise that I shall remain committed and serve faithfully. I also invite all to join this enterprise to remake our beloved nation into its better self. We can do it. We must do it. We shall do it!!!”