Nigeria News

Why There Is No Yet Jubilation Over N30, 000 Minimum Wage

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Nigeria News takes a look at the approval of minimum wage and its consequences.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the N30, 000 minimum wage bill on Thursday but there is no much jubilation among the civil servants.

One, the approval of the minimum wage is long overdue. There are a few number of workers who earn minimum wage in the civil service, except in the private sector where graduates earn the salary of messengers.

What the minimum wage suggests is that the average and high incoming earners are expected to have their salaries increased based on the new minimum wage standard in the civil service and private sector.

There are millions of graduates in the private sector that could not jubilate because the implementation of this new law will be difficult to achieve not only by their firms but also by the government.

Only a few companies pay regularly even when the minimum wage was N18, 000. Many workers are being owed by their employers, including State governments across the country.

Thrice, the Federal Government had to bail out state governments through Paris Debt to enable the States to pay workers’ salaries.

Our States depend so much on the Federal government statutory allocations to provide infrastructure and pay the overhead cost. Except Lagos and Rivers States, no other State in Nigeria can conveniently pay the workers’ salary without resort to the Federal Government.

There cannot be jubilation because the implementation of the minimum wage in the country is an invitation to job loss. Private firms will layoff workers so as to reduce their wage bills. This is due to the current economic recession.

At present, many of the indigenous firms are not making enough profits, making it difficult for them to increase workers’ salary. In most companies, workers are overlaboured and underpaid.

With the high rate of unemployment, most young graduates do not mind the size of the salary but a job to earn skills and experience.

Except the government will explore a strong monitoring system, I am 100 per cent sure that many of the private firms will not even bother looking at the minimum wage law not to talk of implementing it.

The banking, oil and telecommunication sectors had gotten salary standard, which gives them the latitude to hire and fire at will unlike many informal sectors where workers do not even have letter of engagement.

What will the government do about the growing rate of casual workers? Every morning, thousands of young Nigerian ladies troop into some factories along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to do casual jobs.

They go as early as 7am and close by 6pm. In these factories, according to information, the workers earn based on how much work they have done not by how many hours they have put in.

Nigerians are being enslaved in their own country. The issue of man-hour pay does not arise here. It is about how much load a worker has been able to carry within that hours. Will the minimum wage affect this set of workers?

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