The agitation for a new national minimum wage of N30,000 ($83.33) by Nigeria’s labour unions led to industrial action and a series of back and forth meeting between the government and the labour leaders in 2018.
The state governors insisted they cannot afford to pay a minimum wage of N30,000, adding that they are still struggling to pay the current N18,000 minimum wage. True, some states, at the current minimum wage, are still owing their workers months of salaries.
However, the National Assembly eventually passed N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.
While debating the new minimum wage bill, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the proposed N30,000 is not enough for Nigerian workers considering current economic realities in the country.
The speaker said the only way to curb corruption in Nigeria is for the government to pay a living wage and not just a minimum wage.
Dogara’s statement may not be far from the truth, especially when the new minimum wage is compared to what workers in other countries earn.
In the United States, Bank of America said starting May 1, its employees’ hourly minimum wage will rise to $17 (N6,120).
According to CNBC, the bank also promised the hourly minimum wage will go higher in the next two years to become $20 (N7,200) an hour.
"If you get a job at Bank of America, you'll make $41,000" a year, chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan was quoted to have said. "With the success our company has ... we have to share that success with our teammates."
When compared to the situation in Nigeria, it means it takes employees, even at the lowest rung, with Bank of America just 5 hours to earn what Nigerian government workers earn in a month.
Also, it will take the BOA workers just four hours to earn what Nigerian government workers earn in a month, in two years time—other things being equal.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the Nigerian workers are the least paid in Africa, citing an analysis of the wages of most African countries.
Peter Gambo, the NLC chairman in Taraba, disclosed this to newsmen in Jalingo after a solidarity protest march to demand government’s approval of the new minimum wage being proposed by Organised Labour.
Gambo said: “We analysed the wages of most of the African countries and discovered that Nigerian workers are the least paid in Africa.
“Nigeria, being the giant of Africa, should not be lagging behind.
“We made our request of what we expect to be paid to workers as minimum wage, but government keeps saying they can’t pay without giving reasons why they can’t pay.
“So, our protest is to create awareness and prepare the minds of Nigerians that if government did not respond to our request before Nov. 6, we are going to shut down the country.”
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Minimum Wage: Is N30,000 Too Much for FG to Pay Workers? - Nigeria Street Gist | Legit TV