The Nigerian minimum wage issue has been dragged for so long. Lawmaker Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila sees the dire need to seriously address the issue now.
Gbajabiamila in reaction to the official fuel price increment, advocates the review of Nigerian minimum wage. He believes this is the only way Nigerians will cope with the current oil deregulation in the country.
As much as government justifies the fuel subsidy removal with the intention of managing the nation’s economy, this lawmaker says that this is the most appropriate time to give a serious consideration to the minimum wage issue.
It is not rocket science that the cost of living in Nigeria has increased. With the removal of the controversial fuel subsidy and the subsequent increase in fuel price, the prices of commodities and services will automatically go up as well. This is a direct consequence of running a “mono economy”.
The N18, 000 minimum wage policy have not been seriously addressed. As such, some states comply; while a great number do not and in fact has no plans to give it a second thought. This awkward situation makes it hard for people to accept the N145 per litre of petrol.
“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.”- Femi Gbajabiamila
As a matter of fact, Nigerian Labour Congress, presided by Ayuba Wabba argues that the previously intended N18, 000 is now peanuts. He says the association will present the government with a more befitting amount that will be reasonable for the average Nigerian.
Femi Gbajabiamila attended the Stakeholders meeting that decided on the new official fuel price on Wednesday. From the evidence presented for the decision, he says this:
“From what I read and what I saw, if we had continued that way we may not even have a country in two months time. Salaries would not have been paid by any state.”
The Lawmaker who was anti-fuel subsidy removal says he was “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.” He was forced to rethink and see the reason why the government was taking that road.
However, he is still concerned about the reflection of this decision on Nigerian masses. Gbajabiamila insists that the Nigerian minimum wage needs to be re-addressed now more than ever. He also stated that it would have been a better plan if Nigeria already had functional refineries before scrapping the subsidy policy.
“There is subsidy all over the world, in America agriculture is subsidized and in UK transportation is subsidized. It is only in Nigeria that they say subsidy is bad. So, why is it not bad in other countries? That’s what we need to look at.”