States should determine minimum wage to workers – Peter Obi

Vice Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr Peter Obi, has said there was need for states to determine what they pay their workers, based on realities.

He also reiterated his condemnation of the petrol subsidy policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Obi, who spoke on a Channels Television programme, “Politics Today,” yesterday night, said: “Minimum wage doesn’t have to be universal. I don’t believe that somebody in Lagos should earn the same thing as somebody who is in, maybe, Anambra State or somebody in Maiduguri.”

He, however, stressed that it was important to have a federal minimum wage, which is the product of proper talks with labour.

If elected, Obi, who is the running mate of Atiku Abubakar for the forthcoming Presidential election said: “We will sit down with labour to take a constructive and acceptable decision.”

Speaking further, Obi said as governor of Anambra State, “I argued that every state is not the same; every state won’t pay the same. There has to be a federal minimum, then each state, working within this minimum, can decide where they should go. That is what is obtainable all over the world.”

Asked what amount he thinks should be a minimum, he said it would be determined at a meeting with labour, if his party wins the election.

“I can tell you this, you know what we are saying here, I am sure we will be able to come out with what is acceptable because I know we will sit down and discuss this constructively with labour,” he said.

Obi, who condemned the Federal Government’s borrowing plan, argued that the amount spent on infrastructure did not correspond with the level of borrowing.

He rubbished claims that PDP’s campaign was not working, insisting that such claims were part of efforts to divert attention from the real issues.

He added: “The issue in this campaign is about millions of unemployment Nigerians. We have millions of Nigerians who don’t know where the next meal will come from.”

On fuel subsidy, the PDP vice presidential candidate said a serious government would rather divert the funds used for petrol subsidy to the provision of education and health care services for citizens.

He said: “Go and check the just presented 2019 budget: health is N341 billion and education is about N450 billion. So, if you put health and education, which are the most critical component of the development of any economy together, it is N800 billion.

“So, when you are paying over a trillion in subsidy, it is unacceptable. I have said it categorically, we are paying for inefficiency.”

Obi’s mention of “a trillion” is a reference to cumulative spending by the Buhari administration on petrol subsidy since its assumption of office. President Buhari last month proposed N305 billion as petrol subsidy in the 2019 budget.

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