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You can pay workers ₦60k+ if you curb corruption, Labour replies governors

The governors had raised the alarm that the ₦60,000 minimum wage earlier proposed by the federal government isn't sustainable for most states.

You can pay workers ₦60k+ if you curb corruption, Labour replies governors

According to NLC, state governments will be able to afford even over ₦60,000 minimum wage if they minimise corruption and cut down the cost of governance to the barest minimum.

The argument is contained in a statement issued late Friday, June 7, 2024, by a spokesperson for the NLC, Benson Upah.

Recall that Organised Labour had embarked on an industrial action after rejecting the ₦60,000 minimum wage offer put forward by the Federal Government and the organised private sector.

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However, the strike was called off last Tuesday after the government assured labour unions that it would come up with a proposal over ₦60,000.

Surprisingly on Friday, the governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF), said the ₦60,000 is too high and unsustainable for them.

They argued that many state governments would spend their entire allocation to pay salaries while there would be nothing left for developmental projects if the proposal is implemented.

However, NLC condemned the NGF's statement, expressing disappointment that the governors have acted in bad faith.

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"We are alarmed by the statement credited to the Nigeria Governors Forum that state governments cannot even afford to pay N60,000 as

"minimum wage as “a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month”.

"We do believe the Governors have acted in bad faith. It is unheard of for such a statement be issued to the world in the middle of an on-going negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste.

"As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since moved from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion. making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.

"All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut on the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.

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"It is important to explain here that a national minimum wage is not synonymous with the different pay structures of different states. The national minimum wage is the lowest floor below which no employer is allowed to pay. The aim is to protect the weak and the poor.

"We are not fixated with figures but value. Those who argue that moving the national minimum wage from N30,000 to N60,000 is sufficiently good enough miss the point. In 2019, when N30,000 became the minimum, N300 exchanged for $1 (effectively making the minimum wage an equivalent of $100 or thereabout) while inflation rate was 11.40.

"At the moment the exchange rate is at N1,600 to $1 while inflation hovers at 33.7% (40% for food). This puts the value of the minimum wage at $37.5 for a family of six. This is happening at a time costs of everything rose by more than 400% as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy. This is an extreme bad news for the poor.

"Government’s policies of fuel subsidy removal, mindless devaluation of the Naira, energy tariff hike by 250% and interest rate hike by 26.5% will continue to hurt the economy (especially manufacturing sector) and the poor.

"Already manifest is the mass incapacity of Nigerians leading to overflowing warehouses of the productive sector of the economy. The downward trend will continue except the capacity of workers and businesses is enhanced.

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"Paying a miserable national minimum wage portends grave danger to not only the workforce but the national economy as in truth, economies of most states are driven by workers wages.

"In light of this, we urge the governors to do a re-think and save the country from a certain death." the statement read.

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