June 11, 2024

Minimum Wage: Labour’s demand will throw Nigeria into recession, CSOs cry out

Resign your position to contest Chairmanship, LP mocks NLC President

Labour leader, Joe Ajaero

…Ask Tinubu to reduce inflation, costs of food, transportation, health, power

By Omeiza Ajayi

A broadbased coalition of activists under the aegis of Concerned Nigerian Patriots CNP has described the N250,000 minimum wage demand by organized labour as a recipe for economic disaster, capable of throwing the nation into a recession.

At a news conference Tuesday in Abuja, the CNP said the trio of Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Trade Union Congress TUC and Labour Party LP have connived to sabotage the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

“The recent demands for an unrealistic minimum wage by the coalition of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Labour Party (LP) pose a significant risk of plunging Nigeria into another recession, exacerbating the economic challenges that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration has been diligently working to overcome”, the CNP said.

Chairman of the group, Alhaji Alfa Mohammed who noted that ongoing reforms by the Tinubu administration are necessary, however charged the government to “immediately introduce policies to reduce inflation, particularly in food, transportation, medical, agriculture, and energy sectors”.

He said government officials should also be forced to only use locally assembled vehicles.

The CNP said the agenda of NLC, TUC and LP appears to be a deliberate attempt to provoke public unrest and destabilize the government.

“By advocating for a wage increase that is not financially viable, they risk inciting chaos and anarchy, which could undermine our hard-earned democracy. Their plan includes a total shutdown of essential infrastructure under the guise of fighting for a living wage, potentially crippling the nation’s economy and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable citizens.

“It is important to note that this coalition, which supported Mr. Peter Obi in the last presidential election, is not inherently a threat to democracy or economic recovery. However, their apparent desperation to disrupt the current administration following their candidate’s loss to President Tinubu is concerning. This group, often referred to as the Obidients, has repeatedly mobilized protests, attempting to make the country ungovernable at every opportunity.

“One such instance involved protest leaders marching to the Nigerian War College, calling for a military coup against the democratically elected government. Fortunately, the military reaffirmed their loyalty to the President and the democratic process.

“Undeterred, the coalition continues to leverage the temporary economic hardships stemming from necessary economic reforms to call for strikes, including a recent shutdown of critical national infrastructure affecting the livelihoods of millions.

“Their insistence on a minimum wage initially set at ₦605,000, then ₦494,000, and now ₦250,000, is part of a broader strategy to force the government into adopting an economically unfeasible policy. Such a wage hike would likely lead to severe inflation, increased unemployment, decreased productivity, and greater economic hardship.

We urge all Nigerians, especially our diligent workforce, to see through this veil of mischief.

“We call on fellow Nigerians to reject Unrealistic Wage Demands and support what the government and private sector employers determine to be realistic and sustainable wages.

“Oppose disruptive strikes and insist on dialogue, and reject strike actions aimed at destabilizing the government.

“To President Tinubu and the ruling class, we recommend provision of credit schemes for PMS-CNG conversion and CNG vehicle hire purchase.

“Funding for mechanized farming projects across all states, with a commodity board to manage excess produce.

“Intensification of technology use to address security challenges as well as adoption of an austere recurrent expenditure budget reflecting the current economic situation.

“Exclusive use of locally assembled or manufactured vehicles for government officials”.