In the just concluded week, the United Nations, amid the recently upsurge in Boko Haram’s attacks in the north-eastern part of Nigeria withdrew about 260 of its aid workers from the troubled region, especially from the local government areas of Monguno, Kala/Balge and Kukawa in Borno State, which have been affected by the conflict since November 2018.
According to the New York based organisation, the stated figure represents the largest withdrawal of aid workers since the international humanitarian response was scaled up in 2016 and thus hindering the delivery of vital aid to hundreds-of-thousands of people. Expressing great concern, the humanitarian coordinator for the UN in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, noted that the impact of the recent violence in the northern region was devasting and had created a humanitarian tragedy, as more than 30,000 internally displaced people (IDP) arrived in Maiduguri in recent weeks. He mentioned that about 20,000 IDPs out of the 30,000, which arrived at the Teachers Village Camp in the capital of Borno State stretched the Camp beyond its estimated capacity limit.
Elsewhere, the National Labour Congress (NLC) President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, on Thursday, January 10, 2019, distanced organized labour from the new Technical Advisory Committee set up by the Federal Government on the implementation of the new minimum wage.
He also stated that the new Technical Advisory Committee activity would not affect the January 23, 2019 agreement reached between its members and the Federal Government on the transmission of the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly. Meanwhile, the Technical Committee is expected to deliver on the following major terms of reference, for the Federal Government: to develop, and advise government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases; and Identify new revenue sources, as well as areas of existing expenditure from where some savings could be made in order to fund the wage increases without adversely impacting the nation’s development goals as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
The United Nations withdrawal of its aid workers emphasized the risk of the 2019 elections being hampered by insecurity in affected Northern states as earlier hinted by the Independent National Electoral Commission in recent weeks.
Also, it serves as a strong call on the Federal Government to devote more attention and resources to the war on terrorism in the North East, banditry in the North West and Kidnapping and Herders’ clashes in the Middle Belt. Meanwhile, we note that the implementation of the increase in minimum wage will act as fiscal stimulus which would induce higher inflation rate in the short term; however, in the long run, act as a catalyst for economic growth which would further increase non-oil revenue, especially tax revenue for the government, as its stimulates business to increase output and generate more employment.