Bola Babarinde, a former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in South Africa, says Nigeria can pay as much as the minimum wage if the country eliminates wastages and corruption in governance.
Babarinde, also the deputy director of the Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat Campaign Council, Diaspora Directorate, equally said that any meaningful minimum wage in present-day Nigeria could be up to N200,000 due to economic realities.
He made the assertions in a statement on Tuesday in reaction to President Bola Tinubu’s New Year’s Day broadcast on Monday.
Tinubu had said that the Federal Government would implement a new national living wage in 2024. The president said that the decision made good economic sense and was morally and politically right.
Babarinde said that a living wage would encourage workers to put in their best as well as reduce stealing and other misconduct in public service.
“A living wage should reflect the intention to improve the welfare of the Nigerian working class,” he said. He added that Tinubu came into power with some measures to reposition the economy and give succour to Nigerians.
He noted that ordinary Nigerians were, however, suffering because `building can be more difficult to achieve than destroying’.
“We should not expect a system that has been damaged for decades to be repaired and turned around in a jiffy. Sustainable development takes time,” he said.
On Tinubu’s travels to attract investments, the APC chieftain said that it was well-intended but advised that the Federal Government should look inward.
“This is the time to ask our universities, colleges of technology, and technical schools to give us the Nigeria of our dreams by helping with ideas on refining home-grown technologies for industrial and economic self-reliance.
“We must be serious about ease of doing business among our African countries and reduce obstacles in communication and transportation within our countries. Reduction of airfare and cost of telecommunications between ECOWAS nations should boost local trade which will help economies of those nations,” he said.
He advised Nigerian leaders to make sacrifices for the nation, saying that financial recklessness must be avoided through fiscal discipline.
Babarinde urged Tinubu to leverage the network, experience and expertise of Nigerians in the Diaspora in actualising the renewed hope agenda of his administration. NAN