The former Governor of Lagos State and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, CON, SAN, has called for a total review of Nigeria’s wage system, stressing that the time has come for the nation to understand the difference between minimum wage and salaries.
Fashola, made the call last Thursday while speaking during the launch of his book titled: “Nigerian Public Discourse: The Interplay of Empirical Evidence and Hyperbole”, at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“The truth is that when we understand the difference between minimum wage and salaries, then we will be able to understand the true reality of the importance of a living wage.”
The former Minister also called for a total review of tenancy laws in States by the State’s Houses of Assembly, to compel landlords to collect rents monthly. He maintained that advance payment of rent, up to three years or more, was overwhelming tenants. According to him, many houses are unoccupied, due to the way rents are being collected.
“That is not the only reason, but, if you do not understand how dramatic and painful that three, four, or five years rent has become to our nation, we have not consciously done anything to it.”
“Can we bring it down, from three years to one year? Can we hopefully bring it down to six months? Can we let it coincide with when people get paid? At the end of the month, instead of in advance?”, he asked.
Mr Fashola also described data as the most important currency in the world which no Central Bank could print, while calling for the utilisation of accurate data for better planning in the country, he warned against cooking up data just to get political advantage or patronage.
“So, accurate data will help us determine how many we are, what amount of water we need, what quantity of food; data makes this very important, accurate data, therefore, will be beneficial for us.
“Life without shortage of basic needs, like food, like water, like shelter and energy will be a good life, and data is critical to this objective”, he said.
Speaking earlier, Mr Opeyemi Agbaje, an Author and Academic , who reviewed the book, said that Fashola wrote a thoughtful and analytical book, that sought to destroy hyperbolism, fallacies, and myths.
Agbaje explained that the Book has 16 Chapters, delving into issues of corruption, poverty, the Nigerian Constitution, minimum wage, and governance, among others.
He urged Nigerians, especially the media, to seek correct facts, statistics, and data, as hyperbole could thrive if the people were undereducated with the right facts. According to him, the author agrees that there is misconstrued information to the public, therefore, the Book will help put out the true picture of issues.
In his goodwill message, President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, commended the former Minister for putting down his public life experience and thoughts, that will lead to much needed discussions leading to a better Nigeria. The President then promised, to make sure that the Book is made available to senior Public Officers for them to read.