Minimum Wage: Don’t Plunge Nation Into Monumental Crisis – Labour Tells Governors

Organised Labour has rejected claims by state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, that they cannot afford N60,000 minimum wage, urging the governors not to plunge the country into a monumental crisis....CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE FROM THE SOURCE

Speaking on behalf of Labour, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, accused the governors of lying with their resources, contending that “nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since grown from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.”

In a statement titled “Save the country from a certain death”, NLC’s Head of Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah, advised the governors to cut the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.

The statement reads in part part : “We are alarmed by the statement credited to the Nigeria Governors Forum that state governments cannot even afford to pay N60,000 as minimum wage as “a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month”.

“We do believe the Governors have acted in bad faith. It is unheard of for such a statement to be issued to the world in the middle of an on-going negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste.

“As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since grown from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.

“All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.

“It is important to explain here that a national minimum wage is not synonymous with the different pay structures of different states. The national minimum wage is the lowest floor below which no employer is allowed to pay. The aim is to protect the weak and the poor.

“We are not fixated with figures but value. Those who argue that moving the national minimum wage from N30,000 to N60,000 is sufficiently good enough miss the point. In 2019, when N30,000 became the minimum, N300 exchanged for $1 (effectively making the minimum wage an equivalent of $100 or thereabouts) while the inflation rate was 11.40.

“At the moment the exchange rate is at N1,600 to $1 while inflation hovers at 33.7 per cent (40 per cent for food). This puts the value of the minimum wage at $37.5 for a family of six. This is happening at a time costs of everything have risen by more than 400 per cent as a result of the removal of fuel subsidies. This is an extreme bad news for the poor.

“Government’s policies of fuel subsidy removal, mindless devaluation of the Naira, energy tariff hike by 250 per cent and interest rate hike by 26.5 per cent will continue to hurt the economy (especially manufacturing sector) and the poor.

“Already manifest is the mass incapacity of Nigerians leading to overflowing warehouses of the productive sector of the economy. The downward trend will continue except the capacity of workers and businesses is enhanced.

“Paying a miserable national minimum wage portends grave danger to not only the workforce but the national economy as in truth, economies of most states are driven by workers’ wages.

“In light of this, we urge the governors to do a re-think and save the country from a certain death.”

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