Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday criticized the non-payment of salaries of media practitioners by their employers and called for full debate on the whole orientation of media salaries.
He said this while declaring open the retreat of the State House Press Corps in Abuja with the theme “Journalists and Retirement Plans’’.
The Vice President noted that to avoid the pains of working and going home without benefits all employees, not only of the media, should be compelled to join the government’s contributory pension scheme.
Osinbajo stated that the theme of the retreat was apt, especially for those in the informal sector due to uncertainties surrounding retirement.
According to him remunerations of media practitioners are poor because some employers have the penchant to cheat the workers and also because the private sector does not recognize minimum wage.
He said there was the need to enforce some kind of adherence to minimum wage law by all employers rather than for civil servants alone.
Osinbajo also noted that media men were denied their salaries because the profession did not have entry point thus allowing non-professionals to overwhelm it.
““Anybody can basically enter into journalism,’’ he said and advised the professionals to combat quackery.
““Generally speaking, people are poorly paid; professional associations should be strong lobbies for good pay and their engagement should be more robust,’’ he said.
He called on media practitioners to seek self-improvement in and outside the profession to become sector experts and withstand the challenges after practice.
Citing some pay challenges confronting other professionals, he noted that there was great disparity between what people earn and what they spend adding that the disparity should be corrected immediately.
The Chairman of the occasion and Nassarawa state governor, Tanko Al-Makura, noted that journalists were not immune to the uncertainties surrounding retirement and should make the retirement state a stepping stone to higher heights.
Represented by the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Alhaji Abdulhammed Kwarra, the governor noted that workers should look up to retirement with pomp, which incidentally was not the case.
He said that financial security in retirement did not just happen except for those who made deliberate efforts to save.
“”You have to make saving for retirement a goal as well as device creative ways of being self-sustaining after retirement,’’ the governor advised.
The Guest Speaker and Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Tony Elumelu, said that retirement plan was not based on age as both the young and old could plan ahead and invest to take care of the period.
He advised the correspondents to conceptualise what they would like to do after journalism and then start developing it little by little until it would grow to huge enterprise.
He, however, stated that whatever one choses to invest in, one must have the passion for it.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and his Information counterpart, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, graced the event.