The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for reasonable minimum living wage that will serve as a social protection cover for workers in Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at the Nigeria Labour Congress Roundtable on Social Protection Cover.
The theme is ”Expanding Social Protection Cover and Ensuring Effective Implementation in Nigeria”.
He said that it was the duty of the government to ensure that there was suitable and adequate shelter and food for the people.
”There should be old age care and pensions, care for the unemployment, sick persons and welfare for the disabled should be provided.
”This is how we will ensure that the people born in Nigeria can live life of accomplishment and contribute to the society meaningfully all through their life,” he said.
The speaker noted that social protection was one of the most important responsibilities that proved how the government lived up to its constitutional obligations.
”Many of us may not realise it, but there is a strong correlation between lack of social protection, poverty and crime.
”Social protection legitimises the state of the mind of the citizen and bestows on government.
”When we gather together to brainstorm about ways to improve the social protection cover in our country, we are engaging in the fundamental act of nation building,” he said.
The speaker further said the house would ensure that there was a collective agreement on what it would take to achieve the best vision for Nigeria and welfare of our people.
”I expect that having secured agreement on what needs to be done, we will then do what is required.
”’I assure you that in the House of Representatives we are committed to use the tools of legislative authority to advance solutions and implement policies that will help achieve the promise of the union.
”This is a challenging time for our country. However, an abundant of historical evidence leads me to believe that at this moment of crisis, there is an opportunity for us to make choices and take actions that can improve people’s lives.
”These choices will not come easy and the actions we have to take require sacrifice,” he said.
Gbajabiamila added that it was within the powers of the lawmakers to build a country where citizens have the opportunity to rise to the height of their ability.
Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Service, said that the peace, stability and economic development of any country depended on how it’s leaders are catering for its workers.
Shekarau, represented by Sen. Smart Adeyemi, (APC-Kogi-West) said there was need to have a master plan to improve the living standard of workers.
”Nigerian workers deserve more than what they earn. NLC and the lawmakers should synergise to ensure that the populace live well in economic recession.
”If the people are hungry you can not say you are representing them well. Any recommendation that comes out from this event, the house will ensure it is treated with urgency,” he said.
The chairman added that it was time to improve the life of the people, noting all stakeholders should work together to achieve the goal.