N18, 000 minimum wage not fair for Nigerian workers – Minister
The current N18, 000 minimum wage being paid Nigerian workers does not guarantee living standards in today’s Nigerian economy, so says the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Mohammed Bello.
Bello was speaking on Thursday at the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage Public hearing held in Abuja,
According to the Minister, the demand for a new minimum wage for every category of Nigerian as much as it is necessary should be fair, just and implementable given the enormous scarce resources at the disposal of the government.
Represented at the event by Amina Abubakar, FCT Director Human Resources, the Minister urged the committee which include the Labour Unions to examine the contents of their recommendations so as to be juxtaposed with government revenue profile to ensure a hitch free implementation upon approval.
“We all will agree that the current as,are structure which begin with the N18,000 minimum wage fall short of what is required to guarantee a minimum living standard in our economy today. Since it came into force in 2011, series of economic forces including inflation have eroded its purchasing power.
“On a closer look, this only amount to N600 per day and indeed les than $2 per day. It clearly put the earning power of the Nigerian worker even below the poverty bracket defined by the international development institutions. Since the promulgation of the first national minimum wage act of 1981, which provided a baseline of N125 per month, Nigeria has witnessed more than three other revisions.
“These ranges from the N250 recommended in 1991 to N5,500 per month of 2000 which paved the way for the current N18,000 per month. Unfortunately, each time. New minimum wage is arrived at, it sets up a wave of economic forces that erode the gains envisaged by the review. Being mindful of the attendant pitfalls of salary review in the last three decades, the solutions we seek may not be found only in the injection of raw cash into the worker’s pay.
“Committee members may wish to address their minds also to other critical issues that pose threats to workers pay packages. This include the need for affordable housing, transportation, medical care as well as the cost of educating their children,” the Minister said.
Accordingly, he advised that there was need for the committee to consider recommending of salary structure of relativity among all Federal Government establishments.
He said a situation where some government parastatals pay enhanced salary structures and allowances for their work force, while others especially core ministries pay regular salary structures could have a demoralizing effect on workers.
The labour unions are demanding for a new national minimum wage pegged at N65, 500.