Tinubu’s new minimum wage must be based on this — Govt, OPS, Labour

Tinubu’s new minimum wage must be based on this — Govt, OPS, Labour

New Minimum Wage: President Bola Tinubu established the eagerly expected National Minimum Pay Tripartite Committee a few days ago to set a new minimum pay for Nigerian workers by ILO Convention 131.

Within the following two months, the 37-member Tripartite Committee will develop a new national minimum wage to replace the N30,000 minimum salary that has been in place since April 18, 2019.

Remember that on April 18, 2019, among other things, former President Muhammadu Buhari signed the N30,000 National Minimum Wage Act into law, giving it a five-year lifespan.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) represent Organized Labor, with 12 members in the committee. On the other hand, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) represent the Organized Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN).

Comparably, the Federal Government has seven members, each of whom represents one of the nation’s six zones, while the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, or NGF, has six members.

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The current N30,000 minimum wage expires at the end of March 2024, thus President Tinubu, represented by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, urged committee members to, among other things, “speedily” arrive at a conclusion and submit their reports early.

“We have determined that the National Minimum Wage needs to be reviewed, and we should take into account a minimum wage level that can alleviate the nation,” he continued.

The committee’s chairman, Buka Aji, stated in his speech that he wished to see enough motivation among Nigerian laborers to work for the benefit of everybody. When given enough motivation, they have the potential to be highly effective because of their creativity, productivity, initiative, and human resource base. We are here to make sure that everything we do complies with the law, the expectations of Nigerian workers, and their aspirations. 

Speaking, Chief Humphrey Ngonadi, the Life Vice-President of NACCIMA, stated among other things: “A worker receiving N1 million as minimum wage and a bag of rice valued at N900,000 does not make the N1 million amount meaningful.” Therefore, I believe the reason the government is considering raising the minimum wage is to increase worker salaries; they too need to consider how the additional funds will bring value.

“Having value means that if the price of rice increases to N50,000 from N8,000 a bag yesterday, and you raise worker salaries to N100,000 or N200,000, then the increased salaries are worthless. I believe that the government is now moving in the right way.

Additionally, let the government seek to lower the price of goods while we raise worker salaries. If the dollar declines more, commodities prices will also decline. I’m thinking along those lines.

The N200,000 minimum salary that Labour had previously suggested was also unfeasible, according to TUC President Festus Osofo, who stated, “You could remember that as at that time when we proposed that N200,000 minimum wage, inflation had not gotten to where it is today.” Additionally, keep in mind that the official exchange rate was approximately N450 to $1 at the time we made that recommendation.
You may also remember that, at the time, the parallel market exchange rate was approximately 700 Naira to one dollar. However, these have all been destroyed as of late. That means that since Nigerian workers are being beaten up right now—I mean, their wage is almost nothing—we will have to start over from scratch. Therefore, the Nigerian workers are currently going through a really painful time.

Speaking at the event was Prince Adewale Adeyanju, Deputy President of the NLC, who stated: “I think there won’t be any rigidity coming from the angle of the government if the workers today are expectant, they want a robust minimum wage.” I therefore agree with what my TUC President stated.

The National Minimum Wage, according to NLC President Joe Ajaero, is a reflection of objective realities driven by existential issues like the cost of food, beverages, housing, clothing, transportation, communication, education, health care, etc. He told Vanguard that he was unable to attend the inauguration due to a scheduled trade union assignment outside of the nation before the NLC Secretariat received the invitation. For the outcome to have any significance, these and other elements must determine it. You don’t play chicken with the lives of Nigerians and laborers.

 It needs to be determined by looking at how much it costs the typical Nigerian worker to live or be a human. Anything less than that renders the result less humanitarian and perpetuates poverty, therefore that is where the compromise needs to be worked around. Nigerians’ hopes must be restored by the outcome, not undermined or betrayed.

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