Why Tinubu, Nigerian Governors Should Pay Workers Minimum Wage above N62,000

Why Tinubu, Nigerian Governors Should Pay Workers Minimum Wage above N62,000

  • PDP chieftain, Usman Okai, has waded into the demand for a minimum wage increment by organised labour
  • Speaking exclusively with Legit.ng on the minimum wage dispute, he urged the federal government to prioritise the needs of the Nigerian workers and not treat them as slaves
  • Okai noted that the proposed increase in minimum wage will have a positive impact on the economy, he thereby urged President Tinubu to "ensure that state governments adhere to the agreed-upon minimum wage terms and agreements"

Legit.ng journalist Esther Odili has over two years of experience covering political parties and movements.

Usman Okai, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has backed organised labour's demand for a higher minimum wage.

Minimum wage: PDP reacts to labour demand of N250,000
PDP chieftain endorses labour's minimum wage demand amid negotiations with Tinubu's government. Photo credit: Usman Okai Austin, @DOlusegun
Source: Facebook

N494,000, N250,000 minimum wage demand: Labour is strategic

Okai, the PDP candidate in 2023 for the Dekina/Bassa Federal House of Representatives election, insisted that the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) should not be criticised for its demand of N494,000 as the new minimum wage, noting "it's a strategic move".

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The PDP chieftain state thus:

"Concerning labour's demand of 494,000 as minimum wage; The reality is that labour is aware that the government cannot agree to a minimum wage of N494,000, but the NLC uses this figure as a starting point for negotiations. Labour leaders understand that the government cannot pay such an amount, but they also know that a series of meetings and negotiations will lead to a mutually agreed-upon figure. This initial demand is a strategic move, and as we can see, labour has already reduced its demand to N250,000, which is also subject to further negotiations. This is a common practice in collective bargaining, and there is nothing wrong with making an initial demand that is subject to compromise."

Minimum wage: Nigerian governors should not intimidate labour

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Minimum wage: How NLC, TUC demand of N494,000 will hike inflation, unemployment

Meanwhile, negotiation on the new minimum wage continues. While the federal government led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has offered to pay N62,000 as minimum wage, organised labour are demanding N250,000.

Interestingly, the 36 state governors maintained that they are not in agreement with the federal government on the latest offer and cannot afford to pay N60,000 as minimum wage.

Speaking on the development, Okai, in a telephone interview with Legit.ng on Sunday, June 9, expressed concern over FG's inability to meet the NLC and its Trade Union Congress (TUC) demand.

He noted that despite the harsh economic realities, some state governments have refused to pay the agreed N30,000 minimum wage.

Going forward, the PDP chieftain backed labour's proposed N250,000 as the minimum wage, urging President Tinubu to ensure state governors adhere to "the agreed-upon minimum wage."

"In my opinion, the federal government's inability to enforce compliance with minimum wage agreements among state governments is a significant concern. Despite increased allocations, some states still fail to pay the agreed-upon N30,000 minimum wage. Furthermore, governors often use coercive tactics to intimidate labour leaders, as seen in Kogi state. The federal government must ensure that state governments adhere to the agreed-upon minimum wage terms and agreements. This is especially crucial given the recent price increases and tax hikes, which have negatively impacted citizens since the removal of the subsidy. Uniform payment of the agreed-upon minimum wage is essential to mitigate these effects."

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New minimum wage: SGF George Akume shares why he can't pay his drivers N100,000 monthly

N30,000 minimum wage is inadequate

Meanwhile, many experts have argued that the federal government's decision to pay N250,000 as minimum wage will impact the economy negatively but Usman Okai differs.

The PDP chieftain specifically noted that the recent move by the organised labour will have a positive impact on the nation's economy.

Speaking further, Okai said the current minimum wage is inadequate and NLC should not be blamed for Nigeria's current economic woes.

New minimum wage will boost Nigeria's economy

"The proposed increase in minimum wage will have a positive impact on the nation's economy, encouraging productivity and growth. It's unfair to blame civil servants for the current inflation rate of 33.69% (as of April 2024). Instead, we should focus on addressing their plight and ensuring they receive a living wage.
"The current minimum wage in Nigeria is woefully inadequate, barely covering the cost of a bag of rice, let alone other essential expenses like rent, school fees, and transportation. Workers deserve better living conditions and should be treated with dignity, not as slaves. They have families to support, children to educate, and relatives to care for.

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Minimum Wage: Labour considers slashing N494k demand as Tinubu gives fresh order, details emerge

"The treatment of civil servants is unfair, and the president must act now to address their situation. Many rely on public transportation to get to work, which has recently increased by 200%. This is a clear indication that the government's policies are suffocating Nigerians. It's time for a change.
"Increasing the minimum wage will not only benefit workers but also boost the economy. With more disposable income, people will have the power to purchase goods and services, stimulating economic growth and reducing hunger. It's time for the government to prioritize the welfare of its citizens and take decisive action to address the current economic challenges."

250k minimum wage: PDP chief advises NLC, TUC

Similarly, Dare Glintstone Akinniyi, the spokesperson for the PDP National Youth Group, urged the NLC and the TUC to be realistic with their demand for a new minimum wage.

Akinniyi insisted that Nigeria is poor at the moment and the current economy makes it difficult for President Tinubu to pay N250,000 as minimum wage

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Former deputy CBN governor speaks on new minimum wage as NLC, TUC reject N60K

Speaking exclusively with Legit.ng on Sunday, June 9, the PDP chieftain listed 4 requests labour should propose from Tinubu's led government instead of a wage increment

Proofread by Kola Muhammed, journalist and copyeditor at Legit.ng

Source: Legit.ng

Esther Odili avatar

Esther Odili (Politics and Current Affairs Editor) Esther Odili is a journalist and a Politics/Current Affairs Editor at Legit.ng with 6+ years of experience. Before joining Legit.ng, Esther has worked with other reputable media houses, such as the New Telegraph newspaper and Galaxy Television. She Holds OND and HND in Mass Communication from NIJ, where she was recognized as the best student in print journalism in 2018. Email: esther.odili@corp.legit.ng.

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