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MINIMUM WAGE IN NIGERIA: GERMAINE ISSUES TO ALL

Minimum Wage: As at now,the minimum wage discussion in Nigeria is neither here nor there. From the outrageous demand of 250,000naira by the labour congress to the un-altruistic benchmark of 57,000naira set by Nigeria Governors’ Forum to the scalar threshold as being offered by the current regime. Nobody could say where the ultimate pendulum on amount to be approved would eventually swing. Moreso,these discussions would¬† ultimately require legislative seal.

However, certain issues had come to the front burner as consequential to these agitations by the labour group and diligent considerations at governance levels. No matter the hike in minimum wage to be approved,not all 36 state governors could or would pay.As a corollary effect of this, strikes, agitations and these struggles would dovetail to the sub-national states.

Ajaero and his co-travellers should realise that not all Nigerians are workers under their purview of leadership and influence. However,they could use these times, seasons and opportunities to articulate on other germaine issues which are equally critical to to larger mass of Nigerian citizenry. 3 of these would be discussed as below:

(1) Food Availability: The commonality of suffering by Nigerians is high. Incontrovertibly,galloping inflation has affected food prices, food plates and food tables affecting a wide section of the populace. Even if the proposed minimum wage of 250000naira as being canvassed by labour is approved (quite unlikely),it would steep the galloping inflation higher which would be reflected in higher food prices. For example,in the midst of labour negotiations with the Federal Government,sellers of crates of eggs gleefully announced that a crate of eggs would jump from the present 4000naira to 10000naira,if the minimum wage demand of 0.25million naira is approved for labour. So,labour need to get government on round-table for thorough discussion on policies to bring down food prices (what the increased wage would buy).This is what can make any spike in minimum wage to be effective and beneficial to the average Nigerian worker plus the generality of the masses. General hunger must be assuaged by the general labour force for general peace,transquility and progress.

(2) Security: It must be acknowledged that kidnapping, banditry and terrorism had not been issues of daily occurrences in the country these days. Bravo to our security forces. However,farmers in Benue, Plateau,Taraba,Niger,most North Central States and South Western states who produce eatables have not gone back to these farms the production sites,due to terrorizing activities of herdsmen and bandits. Incontrovertibly,these have negative effects on food production and food supplies from these states. So,the Nigerian Labour Congress needs to advocate for adequate security for it’s members and across the country to enable producing farming states and her peoples to go back to the producing farms. Farmers driven to internally displaced places IDPs and centres outside their farms should return to farm. Minimum wage increase then approved,would be meaningful to all and sundry.

(3) Fuel & Energy Costs: Fuel costs need to be reduced and also costs of domestic gas being used by most households. Youths in schools and most people have to be transported from one place to the other on daily basis. An approval of an Increase in minimum wage must be accompanied by reduction in fuel costs and costs of domestic gas.

The above are some ways and means by which an increase in minimum wage can be meaningful, acceptable and attractive to the generality of Nigerian masses 

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