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Monday, June 17, 2024

MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE: REALISM



The Federal Government is advocating for a minimum wage of ₦62,000, despite facing resistance from the labour sector.


On Sunday, the Presidency emphasized that the Nigeria Labour Congress' demand for a ₦250,000 minimum wage is unfeasible, warning that the Federal Government cannot allocate all its resources to meet this request.


Bayo Onanuga highlighted that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) should remember that resources meant for all Nigerians should not be used solely for the benefit of their members, who make up less than 10% of the population, unless they are acting out of self-interest.


"We keep urging labour to be realistic because the government cannot dedicate all its resources to paying workers. They have other responsibilities. The workers we are discussing constitute less than 10% of the population. Many people are self-employed or work in the private sector and are not affected by this demand.


"This is why labour must critically reconsider their stance instead of always threatening to shut down the system. The Federal Government's proposal was made in consultation with the private sector and other stakeholders. Only labour, which appears to be in the minority, has rejected the N62,000 proposal. They are employees, not employers.


"We should wait to hear their response after returning from the ILO conference. But they must be realistic.


"I am unsure when the Bill will be introduced, perhaps after Sallah. But it is uncertain whether the Federal Government's position on the minimum wage has changed. The current figure was agreed upon by a committee that included the private sector, represented by NECA and NACIMMA.


"The FG delegation, sub-nationals, employers, NECA, and other sectors agreed on this amount. The FG cannot unilaterally decide on a different amount without consulting these stakeholders, and it must ensure that state and local governments can afford the wage," he stated.

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