The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)’s push for the Nigerian minimum wage increment has been a concern for a long time. With the recession in the country, the issue has been all the more sensitive.
In February, President Buhari declined the call of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to devalue the Nigerian currency. The President feared that devaluing of the naira will result to exorbitant importations; inflation and exorbitant consumer goods.
Unfortunately, the fears have all come to pass in the Nigerian system.
With the state of affairs in the country, the NLC insists on the Nigerian minimum wage increment. They say that the initial N18,000 minimum wage will no longer make sense for the average Nigerian.
Lawmaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila had earlier proposed a review on the Nigerian minimum wage. The sad reality for the Nigerian citizen is that as prices of goods in the Nigerian market have doubled up with no increase whatsoever in the sources of income. Hon. Gbajabiamila had said:
“Prices are going to skyrocket, from school fees to food to transportation to school uniforms and to books… Minimum wage needs to be reviewed; we cannot increase the cost of living and keep salaries where it is, they go hand in hand.”
Food wise, Nigerians are getting a fair share when it comes to scarcity and exorbitance. Rice is a staple Nigerian food. At the moment report says that 1 bag of rice costs as much as from N14,000 to over N23,000.
During the last hike in fuel price, the Nigerian Labor Congress agitated about the aftermath of the increment. They refuted the move saying that it should not be so except the the Nigerian minimum wage increment is actualized.
The NLC Chairman of Anambra State chapter, Jerry Nnubia thinks it is unfair that while the people’s wages are sliced in the face of the economic recession, top government officials still earn deafening amounts for doing little or nothing. He said:
“Why should workers be victims of every economic doom? When we have economic boom nobody remembers workers. A bag of rice today is N23,000 or more and their minimum wage is N18,000. This is laughable.
“Why haven’t the governors sliced their wages and those of their aides? Is it not laughable that the same salary paid when a bag of rice was sold for N9,000 is the same salary that is paid when a bag of rice is sold for N23,000 or more?
“Slicing of anybody’s salary now is not only wicked; it’s criminal.”