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Pay public servants adequately—ICPC

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By Abraham Adekunle

Stakeholders call for improved living wages to boost commitment.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and stakeholders have called for improved living wages for public servants to ensure their commitment to service. The call was made at the seventh National Policy Dialogue on “Living Wages and Corruption in Nigeria,” which was organised by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), the training arm of ICPC. This was also in collaboration with Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, with support from MacArthur Foundation.

Aimed at pushing for an enabling environment for Nigeria workers considering the prevalent economic realities, the event, which took place at the ICPC headquarters, was declared open by a representative of the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment. Professor Dafe Otobo, a retired professor of Industrial Relations, University of Lagos, Nigeria, was the keynote speaker. In his presentation, he stated that to effectively address living wages and corruption in Nigeria, it was important for the government to focus on the provision of basic amenities and an enabling environment for its citizens.

Federal and state governments should provide a decent wage system.

According to him, corruption in Nigeria runs deep, intertwining with various aspects of the society. So, the goal of the living wage is to allow employees to have enough income for an adequate standard of living. He noted that the benefits of a living wage would boost employee satisfaction and higher productivity. Consequently, he urged the federal and state governments to address the living wage and provide a decent wage system in consonance with the economic realities. This is especially important as the cost of living has risen astronomically in the last few months in Nigeria.

He added that basic amenities are a necessity. He said that the federal and state governments should work towards providing better health services, good roads, a good educational system, and other basic amenities to make life better. The next speaker, Prof. Owosanoye, underscored the importance of the theme in his welcome remarks. He noted that the Policy Dialogue was not only timely but necessary looking at Nigeria current socio-economic realities which calls for urgent equitable living wage policy for the country.

Neglecting public servants results in a corrupt civil service.

In the same vein, he revealed that a survey conducted by the ICPC showed that there had been several minimum wage policies since 1981 but little or no attention had been paid to actual living wages for public servants. The outgoing ICPC boss explained that it had become necessary to take into cognizance the fact that the public service was the vehicle through which government at all levels delivered services to the people. Therefore, neglecting a fundamental aspect of public servants could result in corrupt practices in the service.

Also, he said that this Policy Dialogue on Living Wages and Corruption becomes very necessary when cognizance is taken of the fact that the public service is the vehicle through which government at all levels deliver a broad range of public goods and services to the people. Unarguably, a corrupt public service basically obstructs the distribution and timely supply of these public goods and services in equal measure to every citizen, thereby marginalizing the weaker and more vulnerable segments of the nation’s population.

Contributions should be data-driven and based on scientific predictions.

Because of this, he recommended that all stakeholders develop and contribute a set of indicators relevant to the working conditions of public servants in order to enrich the national living wage policy document. He said that stakeholders’ contributions should be data-driven and should be based on scientific forecasts of likely economic changes in the near to long term to properly guide policy direction and cost of living adjustments. The ICPC boss also noted that the outcome of the dialogue would enable the government to develop a balanced and applicable wage bill policy for the country.

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ICPC: Website

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