….North Central, North West workers propose, N709,000 N485,000

Lagos State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Funmi Sessi, yesterday, proposed N794,000 as minimum wage for the average Nigerian worker.

She made the declaration during a South West zonal public hearing on the National Minimum Wage in Lagos.

The hearing, organised by the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, was one of the six held simultaneously across the six geo-political zones of the country.

President Bola Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, had, on January 30, inaugurated a 37-member panel on the new minimum wage in Abuja

The committee, yesterday, held public hearings in all the six geo-political zones. According to Sessi, it is expedient to consider the current cost of living when determining the wage.

“The cost of essential services, including food, housing, transportation, healthcare, and education has risen tremendously. It has risen astronomically, making most of these services and goods out of the reach of the workers presently.

“A quick analysis on the cost of living for a family of six include food: with the increase in cost of food items, each person will have to spend about N1,000 each on breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Sessi urged the Federal Government to live up to its responsibilities by bequeathing a decent, befitting and a living wage to its workers.

She said such would restore the pride and glory of the country, back to the comity of countries that pay a decent wage to its workforce.

Also, the state Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Gbenga Ekundayo, demanded N447,000 per month as minimum wage for workers.

He said this would give Nigerian workers a minimum level of comfort that would enable them to cope with the current economic hardship. According to him, the hardship in the country has turned many workers into beggars.

“This minimum wage is required to narrow the widening gap of poverty among the employed and mitigate the erosion of living standards of Nigerian workers.”

Earlier, Chairman of the South West Public Hearing and Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of Economy, Wale Edun, said pensioners should also be included in the process of negotiation.

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“They should be part of the conversation and we can only appeal that in this whole process, those who have worked diligently and retired honourably should be looked after, taken into account. They should not be left behind, forgotten; let us remember, in all these processes, our pensioners.”

In the North Central zone, no fewer than 15 organisations met and presented their submissions to the council. The FCT chapter of the NLC proposed N709,000 as a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers. He said the congress took cognisance of the present economic conditions in the country in arriving at the figure.

According to him, the sum proposed will help cushion the effects of the economic challenges and ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians.

“We have a common position. This position considers the current economic plight in the country. We have the submission that N709,000 per month should be the minimum wage for the workers in the country. We believe Nigeria has what it takes, the leadership should commit themselves to getting this money paid and for us to have better treatment for the working people of Nigeria,” he said.

Amaege Chukwudi, who represented the TUC, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, proposed N447,000 as the new minimum wage .

“This will give Nigerian workers a minimum level of comfort and enable them to cope with the current level of economic hardship, which has turned the majority of them to beggars. So, for us, in the FCT, we expect the minimum wage to run across the three tiers of government,” he said.

In another hearing, the North West  zone presented a proposal of  N485,000 as new minimum wage .

Chairman of the Kano State Chapter of the Congress, Kabir Inuwa presented the proposal.

Speaking on behalf of the colleagues in the zone, he explained that the proposed minimum wage of N485,000 was necessary considering the present national economic challenges in the country

“The removal of fuel subsidy and Forex policy came at a time when Nigeria’s minimum wage is matured for review. The attendant effect of the current economic hardship propelled by hyperinflation has  rendered workers vulnerable. It is imperative to propose a new minimum wage that reflects the cost of living and ensures a decent standard of living for workers.”

“The proposed new minimum wage per month should be determined through a comprehensive assessment of the current economic conditions, inflation rates, and the basic needs of workers and their families.

“The congress is of the opinion that for any minimum wage to achieve its purpose it must reflect the realities of the economic situation and accordingly assess the least income that would be sufficient for the survival of a family of six.”

Inuwa lamented that the North West region was facing a lot of  challenges due to the activities of bandits, high inflation and unemployment.

He also stressed that the Minimum Wage Act has given all the protection required to ensure compliance and urged the Federal Government to ensure compliance by withholding all allocations to any state or public institutions that fail to comply.