NLC Slams Governors Over Claim that States Can’t Afford N60,000 Minimum Wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rebuked the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for saying that states cannot pay a minimum wage of N60,000.

The NLC labelled the governors’ remarks as an act of bad faith, unfounded, and tasteless, especially during ongoing negotiations.

The governors had claimed that implementing the proposed wage would exhaust their monthly allocations from the federation account solely on paying workers’ salaries.

However, the NLC pointed out that FAAC allocations have surged from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion, making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.

The NLC in a statement by its Spokesperson, Mr Benson Upah, “All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut on the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.

“It is important to explain here that a national minimum wage is not synonymous with the different pay structures of different states. The national minimum wage is the lowest floor below which no employer is allowed to pay. The aim is to protect the weak and the poor.”

The NLC said that cutting down on the exorbitant cost of governance, reducing corruption, and prioritizing workers’ welfare would enable states to meet a reasonable minimum wage.

“We are not fixated with figures but value. Those who argue that moving the national minimum wage from N30,000 to N60,000 is sufficiently good enough miss the point. In 2019, when N30,000 became the minimum, N300 exchanged for $1 (effectively making the minimum wage an equivalent of $100 or thereabout) while inflation rate was 11.40.

“At the moment the exchange rate is at N1,600 to $1 while inflation hovers at 33.7% (40% for food). This puts the value of the minimum wage at $37.5 for a family of six. This is happening at a time costs of everything rose by more than 400% as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy. This is an extreme bad news for the poor.

“Government’s policies of fuel subsidy removal, mindless devaluation of the Naira, energy tariff hike by 250% and interest rate hike by 26.5% will continue to hurt the economy (especially manufacturing sector) and the poor.

“Already manifest is the mass incapcity of Nigerians leading to overflowing warehouses of the productive sector of the economy. The downward trend will continue except the capacity of workers and businesses is enhanced.

“Paying a miserable national minimum wage portends grave danger to not only the workforce but the national economy as in truth, economies of most states are driven by workers wages.In light of this, we urge the governors to do a re-think and save the country from a certain death,” the statement read.

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