George Odok | Calabar

Mr Donald Duke, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has called on the Federal Government to find a comprehensive and long term solution to the lingering minimum wage crisis in the country. 

Duke made the call in a release issued to newsmen on Saturday in Calabar.

According to him, the current “fire brigade” response, is tantamount to giving a short term solution to a long term problem. 

He said that such an approach, is inherently faulty and unsustainable, hence the incessant resurgence of the issue with every federal government administration. 

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He therefore advocated for a holistic and systemic approach to addressing the issue, stressing that the best approach to solving this lingering problem is to identify and address the real needs of civil servants.

He highlighted some of the needs to include food, housing, transportation, health, children’s education, and security rather than focusing on salary increases. 

He however, cited the highly subsidized Metro Blue public transportation scheme he introduced for civil servants while as Governor of Cross River.

He said that the initiative helped to cut down the transportation cost of civil servants in the state during his administration.

"I wish to advocated for a shared ownership of the process and solutions to the issue through an effective dialogue between Labour and government taking into consideration all the variables including revenue accruing to government.

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"The federal government must involve all the stakeholders including the Organised Private Sector and state governments in the negotiation process.

 "They have an equally important stake being that they also employ reasonable number of workers," the release stated. 

He called for a periodic review of salaries every ten years, taking into cognizance variables such as inflation.

He added that anything done otherwise may have negative economic consequence including but not limited to downsizing the labour force.

The SDP presidential candidate advised government to invest more of its energy in creating wealth by developing a production economy, rather than a consumption one.

He explained that this is the only way of forestalling the incessant agitation and demand for wage increase and the consequent result of threats of strikes by labour unions.

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