By Progress Okpalaebulue
IT was unanimously agreed by stakeholders at a workshop organised by Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, CDWR, in Lagos, that the processes to bring about a new minimum wage needed to be fast tracked. Stakeholders at the event noted that a new minimum wage was long over due judging by the high cost of living in the country, among others.
Speaking, President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, said: “Minimum wage in Nigeria is far from being a living wage. The present minimum wage of N18,000 which is not applicable in all states of the Federation can barely provide a worker meal for a whole week talk more of meals that will last till the next pay day and the inflation rate in the country has made matters worse for workers in this category.
“Minimum wage in a country should be able to cover the basic needs expenses of workers but the country’s minimum wage is barely enough for meals as stated above talk more of other needs like housing and electricity and because of this many workers who earn minimum wage live below the poverty line of $1 per day. Therefore, there is a need for an upward review of the minimum wage so as to improve the living standard of Nigerian workers.”
Similarly, TUC’s Secretary General, Musa Lawal, said “the campaign is about awareness of Nigerians on the issue of the minimum wage which is top of government agenda now. The list of the minimum wage committee has been submitted to the Ministry of Labour and I guess they have been forwarded to the Federal Government but it has not been formally presented. We are still waiting for the inauguration to take place so that work on the minimum wage can start functioning. As long as we leave from hand to mouth, the survival of Nigeria is not certain. We are sure that if we go into the minimum wage and we are able to provide food for the common man in the street then of course we can have one tomorrow .”