AFTER about seven years without increase of salaries and wages of Nigerian workers, President Muhamdadu Buhari, mid-this year, signed into law a minimum wage of thirty thousand naira (N30,000) from the hitherto eighteen thousand naira (N18,000). This came as a big relieve to workers whose erstwhile salaries can hardly take them home.

TO say that Nigerian workers can hardly afford a decent living with the then eighteen thousand naira (N18,000),minimum wage is a gross understatement. But the expected joy of the increased now seems to be in jeopardy.

WHILE the Federal Government agreed on consequential adjustments and percentage increase for workers in the Federal Civil Service with Organized Labour on October 18, 2019, the joint negotiating council in each state is expected to open negotiation with its state government. This is quite worrisome considering the antecedents of some of the state governors when it comes to the issue of salary increment for their workers.

ALREADY, state governments under the aupices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has said that, they would only pay according to the financial capability of their respective states. At this point, so many questions beg for answers: What is their financial capacities in spite of the monthly subvention from the federal government? What about the much-mouthed Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)? Can’t these governors think out of the box by being more creative in out-sourcing resources to cater for their workers, perhaps a large percentage which are the electorate?

WE view with dismay the apparent fact that, negotiation of the new minimum wage at the state level is likely to be a replay of what happened when the eighteen thousand naira (N18,000) minimum wage was being negotiated.

IT is on record that at present, some states are not paying eighteen thousand naira (N18,000) as minimum wage. And yet, payments of salaries and wages have become an herculean task to some of the governors. So sad.

NIGERIA cannot continuously be entertaining industrial actions as a result of government outright negligence of its workforce. There is a stipulated time-frame of increase in workers’ salaries and wages. Why is government not doing the needful? Yet, their own salaries and allowances is in complete contradiction with that of the ordinary workers.

WE therefore appeal to state governments across the country to look at the issue of the new minimum wage with human face. Already, the perceived increased in the minimum wage has sent the economy haywire. Already prices of goods and services have skyrocketed. A typical Nigerian businessman or woman believes that, the new wages have been implemented. And that is really not so.

IT would do a lot of good for some of the state governments to expedite action towards payment of the minimum wage, specifically to avert industrial unrest. Little wonder, one chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in one of the states of the federation threatened that, “any governor that says he’ll not pay, stands to be impeached”. It must not get to that level

Categories: Editorial

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