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Minimum wages may increase to N200,000

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By Usman Oladimeji

Estimates show that FG is well capable of raising the minimum wage.

The organized labour union in the country previously called for the minimum wage increase to as much as N200,000 per month, and there are promising signs that the federal government is open to the idea. It was reported that the Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission made a proposal at a recent meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) regarding the process by which the federal government could fulfill the demand. Another source claimed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is genuinely convinced the organized labour demand is practical, referencing his saying during the election period.

It’s worth remembering that on May 1, Employees Day, as the President-elect, Tinubu stated that “I shall have the honour and privilege to lead Nigeria from May 29, workers will have more than minimum wage. A fair income that allows you to support your family in a dignified manner will be guaranteed to you”. During the recent meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), the Salaries and Wages Commission, considering the financial impact, estimated that the federal government was well capable of raising the minimum wage and provided a strong recommendation for it.

Government will earn more through the new foreign exchange policy.

Prof. Charles Soludo, governor of Anambra State who led the governors at the meeting argued that the NEC should not adopt the presentation until it has a firm grasp on the source of the fund for it, how much it will be, and how much the states will be allocated. It is anticipated and envisaged that the FAAC monthly allocation to the federal and state governments will increase as a result of the new foreign exchange policy. If that were to occur, credible sources say there would be adequate funds to substantially increase the minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000 per month.

Likewise, fuel subsidy savings would also add to the government’s coffer. As was officially reported, a group of governors led by the Kebbi State governor and including six other governors formed a subcommittee at the recent NEC meeting to examine the problem. They include governors of Anambra, Benue, Kaduna, Bauchi, Cross River, and Oyo states stand in for the six regions of the country. The subcommittee also includes the representative of NNPCL, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Accountant General of the Federation.

State governors recommend taking cautious steps.

Also involved is Ms. Rukayyat El-Rufai and representatives from the organized labour (Trades Union Congress and the National Labour Congress) as per statement from the Vice President’s Office, who serves as NEC chairperson. Following the NEC meeting last month, the subcommittee organized a Technical Working Group (TWG) with Governor Soludo as chairperson to probe the challenges associated with a minimum wage increase. Most importantly, there is a general recognition that the new minimum wage would be paid jointly by the federal and state governments.

Last month, the TWG convened at least three times under Soludo’s directives, on the 24th, the 27th, and the 30th. The TWG decided, among other things, that federal and state governments should have parallel tracks in their negotiations with workers. State governors are recommending a cautious step on the matter. NEC will meet later this month to discuss on the subcommittee’s report and make a recommendation to the President regarding issue about the national minimum wage.

Majority are looking forward to the outcome of the decision.

Moreover, it was determined that the Soludo led group, the TWG, would be in charge of determining the end outcome for state employees, while the significant rise in the minimum wage would almost certainly apply to federal employees. While the specifics of the minimum wage increase are yet to be determined, the majority of the people in the country are looking forward to the outcome of the decision which would have far-reaching impacts for Nigerian workers.

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