Governments should provide enabling environments for workers
Federal and state governments in Nigeria have been advised to provide enabling environment for workers to excel, receive their due earnings and live a good life.
This advice was contained in a press statement issued by Easy Life Initiative for Rural Youth, (ELIRY) a non-governmental organisation to commemorate the 2021 Workers Day celebration.
The statement, signed by Chief Uche Emeku, its secretary, regretted that despite worker’s contribution to national development, most Nigerian workers retired to their death, because of the poor salaries and bad working conditions.
They affirmed that many Nigerian workers, especially in the public sector, were poorly paid and, in some cases, over-worked and owed salaries for many months.
“Although they are the engine house of governments, they are used by politicians and their cronies to waste funds, but go home to poverty.
“They are also used to wreck the public service system, which in the end results in low productivity.
“The Nigerian worker today, especially the low-class ones, cannot hope to train their children in tertiary institutions, because of poor salaries, coupled with high cost of tertiary education in Nigeria today.
“They also cannot hope to have a house of their own, because of high cost of housing units government is designing or because of the cost of building materials for those desiring to build for themselves.
“And government’s efforts to provide housing for low-income people cannot reach many Nigerians, because many households have to scramble for the few spaces available for such provisions,” it said.
The group lamented the ever-increasing cost of electricity, high cost of fuel, without commensurate salary increase, which leaves the Nigerian worker unable to relax after work at home.
The body stated that the cost of living had become unbearable for the poorly paid Nigerian worker, who hardly could feed his family and still pay fares to work at the end of the month.
ELIRY, therefore urged governments to provide conducive work environment and cheap transportation systems for workers to save transportation costs, which consumes their salaries.
It also urged the Nigerian legislature to criminalise poor treatment of workers, by governments and big organisations and with costs attached to the defaulting party.
It suggested that government put up some form of price control mechanism, especially on some essential commodities to ensure survival of the Nigerian worker with his family.
ELIRY also said government should make laws to dissuade politicians from manipulating workers to steal from the people.
It asked that well-behaved workers should be rewarded to encourage others.
The body also called on the three tiers of government to build infrastructure that would encourage workers and improve their living standard.
Yolamchi Ukaga, Aba