June 24, 2024

Lawmakers Urge Federal Government to Consider Higher Minimum Wage Amid Ongoing Negotiation 

 

By: Emmanuel Ibitoye

 

Lawmakers from opposition parties in the House of Representatives are pushing for a significant increase in the national minimum wage, proposing over N100,000 to address the demands of organized labour and improve the living standards of Nigerian workers.

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have been at odds with the Federal Government, demanding a new minimum wage of N494,000, far above the government’s proposal of N60,000. After several inconclusive meetings, organized labour initiated a nationwide strike on Monday, bringing economic activities to a halt across the country.

 

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Kingsley Chinda, highlighted the plight of Nigerian workers in an interview with The PUNCH, emphasizing that the current wages fall short of constitutional requirements for ensuring citizen welfare. “In Nigeria today, any wage below $200 (N298,800) is ridiculous. The Nigerian worker is heavily underpaid, and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the security and welfare of its citizens,” Chinda stated. He stressed that failing to provide a living wage violates constitutional mandates regarding citizen welfare.

 

Echoing Chinda’s sentiments, Oluwole Oke, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency in Osun State, advocated for a minimum wage of N120,000. Oke, who chairs the House Committee on Judiciary, pointed out the broader economic implications of wage increases. “The minimum wage the Federal Government should pay should be N120,000. Wage increases have their linkages, effects, and consequences. Nigerian workers deserve living wages,” he explained.

 

Oke also emphasized the need to consider the private sector’s ability to sustain such wage increases, stating, “We need to look at productivity in the private sector. Would the private sector that feeds the government survive? We have a serious issue at hand.”

 

Chinedu Obika, representing the Abuja Municipal/Bwari Federal Constituency of the Federal Capital Territory and a member of the Labour Party, suggested a minimum wage of at least N150,000, taking into account the inflation rates in recent years. “The minimum wage should not be less than N150,000 based on the current reality,” Obika urged.

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