Only 2.2% of Nigerians will benefit from new minimum wage - NBS report – Newstrends
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Only 2.2% of Nigerians will benefit from new minimum wage – NBS report

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Only 2.2% of Nigerians will benefit from new minimum wage – NBS report

About 2.2 per cent of the Nigerian population currently put at 229 million will benefit from a new minimum wage being negotiated, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics has shown.
Specifically, the new NBS report stated that 5.3 million of a total of 76 million workers (33.2 per cent of the total population) would benefit from the wage increase.

A back-of envelope calculation by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that 1.2 million (23 per cent) and 0.3 million (six per cent) work with the federal government, drawing salaries from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and government-owned enterprises respectively.

Also, another 1.3 million (25 per cent) and 0.7 million (13 per cent) work with the state governments, their agencies and local government areas. The remaining 1.8 million (34 per cent) work in formal private organisations.

While experts believe that civil and public servants deserve more in terms of their take home packages, they, nonetheless, observed that for the federal and subnational governments to address the wage crisis in the country, they have to do more in reducing the cost of living and provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive, which will in turn improve the livelihoods of millions of citizens that are wallowing in poverty.

And unlike in advanced societies, whatever civil servants earn in Nigeria will directly or indirectly be shared with the 66.8 per cent remaining population.

In developed societies, there are strong and sustainable safety nets for the people who are not working or have lost their jobs in order for them to have a decent life.

Also, the state takes care of people who have retired as they are seen as assets in society and not as liability to their families.

While there are agencies responsible for similar interventions here in Nigeria and other developing economies, they are far from the ideal.

Experts believe that many civil and public servants in Nigeria borrow or use other legal and dubious means to augment what they get as salary in order to meet up with the demand for the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, health, education and transportation for their immediate and extended families.

The federal minimum wage, currently at N30,000, was last raised in 2019, when the inflation rate was between 11 and 12 per cent.

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However, the purchasing power of the naira has since been eroded by 276 per cent (compared to what it was in 2019), hence the clamour for an enhanced salary structure.

Nigeria among worse salary payers in Africa

Findings revealed that Nigeria is ranked 44th in Africa in terms of paying the lowest minimum wage, according to Professor Kemi Okuwa of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER). Analysis revealed that out of the 76 million workers in the country, only 5.3 million (6.9 per cent) work in the formal sector and are collecting wages.

The findings showed that this is the group that is likely to benefit most from a new minimum wage that has remained contentious and a source of discord between the federal, state and local governments on the one hand and the organised labour on the other hand.

Currently, there is a stalemate in the polity as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have rejected the N62,000 minimum wage offered by the federal government, even as the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) said they could not afford to pay the figure.

Ironically, the organised labour said anything below N250, 000 would not serve as a living wage which Nigerian workers were aspiring to have.

Many pundits, including some members of the National Assembly, are suggesting that something in the range of N100,000 as minimum wage will uplift the lives of the working class without inducing additional inflation that will hurt the economy further.

Government and private sector workers

In his recent analysis, the Managing Director and Chief Economist of Analysts Data Services and Resources (ADSR), Dr Afolabi Olowookere, said regardless of how the recommendation in the new template for salaries might differ from what labour was currently asking for, both parties would find a common ground and in the final outcome there would be more money for labour.

He, however, said that when the labour finally “wins” the minimum wage battle, another thing that would remain obvious was in dissecting the discrepancy between current low-wage and high-wage workers; wage increase and productivity increase; and then cost of living and standard of living.

Olowookere said, “The implication is that the government will be the major institution that will pay the minimum wage. The private sector is largely informal.

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“The question now is, when they benefit, others will also want to benefit from them, either because they are dependent on them or they are selling things to them.

“The major message is that even when we increase the salary for these few people, we should not lose sight of other people that are dependent on them, and the people that are unemployed; they are many and we don’t have unemployment benefits in Nigeria.

“What also happens to those in the informal sector, even though they are working, they are not earning the minimum wage. The only benefit they can derive is to increase prices of goods and services to the extent that they can squeeze out from those who have benefited.”

Dilemma of workers in states

Dr Olowookere also said that attention should be paid to states, especially given that some of them were not yet paying the N30,000 agreed during the last upward review, which he noted had expired.

He said, “The analysis of the states’ budget performance shows that most of them are using 100 per cent of IGR to pay salaries.

“If there is no Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), they can’t pay salaries. So, if you increase wages, what will be the implication on their performance? How would states with low revenue cope?”

Findings revealed that 15 state governments are yet to implement the old wage of N30,000. They are Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Gombe, Niger, Borno, Sokoto, Anambra, Imo, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara.

‘Reducing cost of living is the way out’

Speaking on the way forward, Dr Olowookere canvasses a sustainable solution of raising productivity and reducing cost of living for everyone.

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He said when the government continued to increase salaries without corresponding increase in productivity, the cost of living would also keep eroding whatever gain was recorded by the workers and Nigerians in general.

He said, “No doubt, Nigerian workers are due for minimum wage increase. At the current high inflation rate and low productivity level, with everyone being ‘forced’ to provide their own infrastructure, it is a matter of time before all gains are lost.”

FG, states, LGs must not politicise wages – Peterside

In a recent intervention, public policy analyst and former Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, said the implications of creating new salary structures and increasing the minimum wage were complex and multifaceted, requiring the careful consideration of various factors, including economic conditions, industry dynamics and social equity goals.

He said, “Our recent experience has shown that a salary increase may start a merry-go-round of cyclical inflation, which then eats up the value, and then we are back to where we started.

“In an economy with over 40 per cent food inflation, all stakeholders must apply caution and careful measures in implementing a new salary structure.

“However, governments (federal, state and local) cannot afford to play politics with the issue of ‘living wage.’”

Daily Trust

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NASS members victimising me for not signing dubious loan – Minister

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Minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye

NASS members victimising me for not signing dubious loan – Minister

Embattled Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, claims she is being targeted by government cabals for refusing to sign a $500 million World Bank loan request.

In a phone interview with THISDAY, Kennedy-Ohanenye asserted that her refusal to sign the loan, which included an earlier $100 million case, has led to significant pressure and threats against her.

Kennedy-Ohanenye revealed that World Bank staff in Nigeria allegedly take back 40 percent of such loans as consultation fees. She stated, “All the loans they collect, including World Bank loans, are you aware that the same World Bank staff in Nigeria takes back 40 percent and calls it consultation fees? These are things you people should look into. You people should focus on where the problem is and let them leave me alone.”

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She emphasized that her life is now at risk due to her stance on the loan, mentioning the potential personal financial gain she turned down. “If I sign that loan today, I am entitled to five percent of the money, but I refused to sign it. It is part of why the National Assembly and all of them are after me.”

The minister highlighted the alleged misuse of the loan, suggesting the funds could be better utilized directly to support women rather than on consultations. She questioned the necessity of spending $100 million on teaching women how to save money, arguing for a more direct allocation to the women in need.

This controversy follows a tense interaction on July 10, 2024, between Kennedy-Ohanenye and the House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development over the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

NASS members victimising me for not signing dubious loan – Minister

(DailyTrust)

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Reps probe missing crude, contaminated fuel

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Reps probe missing crude, contaminated fuel

The Joint Committee of the House of Representatives, which is conducting a forensic inquiry into the difficulties facing the downstream and midstream petroleum industries, has begun looking into claims of the importation of contaminated Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as fuel, into the country. 

The committee’s chairman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, announced this at the panel’s formal inauguration in Abuja on Monday.

The investigation team will also examine reports of crude oil theft at local refineries, distribution disruptions, and favouritism in the pro forma invoice regime, among other issues.

Briefing reporters at the event, Ugochinyere said, “The committee will conduct a legislative forensic investigation into the presence of middlemen in crude trading, the indiscriminate issuance of licenses, and the alleged unavailability of international standard laboratories to check adulterated products.”

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He mentioned that the panel would also probe the possible influx of contaminated products into the country and “the allegation of non-domestication of profits realised from crude marketing sales in local banks, abuse of the PFI regime, and importation of products already being produced in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the panel plans to visit petrol stations around the country to collect samples of their products for laboratory testing to ensure their purity.

The mandate of the joint committee follows the approval of a motion on July 9, 2024, on the “urgent need to carry out a legislative forensic investigation into the challenges affecting the downstream and midstream petroleum sectors in Nigeria and other related matters to find out a lasting solution to all challenges” affecting the petroleum industry.

Reps probe missing crude, contaminated fuel

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Hardship: FCT police begs residents not to join protest

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FCT Police Commissioner, Benneth Igweh

Hardship: FCT police begs residents not to join protest

As the date for proposed protest against economic hardship in the country by unnamed groups draw near, the Commissioner of Police, FCT, CP Benneth Igweh has appealed to residents of Abuja not to join the protest so as to prevent the destruction of new infrastructure recently put in place by the FCT administration and President Bola Tinubu.

This is just as the CP paraded the mastermind of the armed robbery gang that killed retired Brigadier General Uwen Harold Udokwerre in Abuja on June 22, 2024

Speaking on the proposed strike, Igweh said, “Lions do not destroy their den. We have toiled so much to ensure and provide security for the FCT. In the cause of this, we have gone to Kaduna, we have gone to Kogi, we have gone to Nasarawa to fish our criminals who came to disturb the peace of Abuja.

“In this process, we have lost officers. Last week we lost two officers, the previous week, we lost one officer over efforts at providing security and safeguarding residents. We dont want to lose any more person.

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“So please dont allow the destruction of what the minister, what Mr President is doing. We have been in this FCT, we know when there is changes, roads, infrastructure. I am pleading with residents, do not join this protest

“We don’t want miscreants to come from outside the FCT to come and start destroying them. We will go back to square one where we were before. I plead, I beg of you, do not join this protest.

“Let us continue collectively to make FCT safe. Let them go and do what they want to do. But not with us. Act maturely. Act maturely. Act like people who appreciate. Even the loss we have been losing to ensure your safety. Use it to appreciate us. If you give it to us, we will be very happy. We will continue to provide security for you.

On the arrest in the mastermind, CP Igweh said, “Last time, I did show you the four killers, kidnappers, and robbers that went and killed Brigadier General Uwem Harold Udokwerre retired. Today, I will show you the organizer of the killing and the robbery.

“We have also recovered the general’s gun that was with him. We have recovered the wristwatch of the general and the wife’s jewelry which they all robbed from the general’s house.

“The organizer is here and we have arrested him. He is Alhaji Ashiru. He has had been arrested before for crime and jailed in prison and escaped during the jail break.

Hardship: FCT police begs residents not to join protest

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