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FG can’t sustain paying Nigerian workers N494,000 monthly, N9.5 trillion yearly – Minister  

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that the federal government cannot sustain paying organized labour the N494,000 minimum wage they are demanding for Nigerian workers.  

The minister said the demand will amount to an unsustainable N9.5 trillion bill for the federal government to settle. 

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Rabiu Ibrahim, Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, on Saturday, June 1.  

Idris was quoted as saying that “the sum of N494,000 national minimum wage being demanded by organized labour, which cumulatively amounts to the sum of N9.5 trillion bill, is capable of destabilizing the economy and jeopardizing the welfare of over 200 million Nigerians.”  

Planned Strike  

Nairametrics previously reported that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) announced a nationwide strike set to commence on Monday, June 3rd, 2024.   

This announcement comes following the tripartite committee’s failure to reach an agreement on a new minimum wage for workers.   

The federal government had in January this year inaugurated a 37-member tripartite committee on national minimum wage with a mandate to recommend a new national minimum wage for organized labour.  

The committee comprised government representatives at federal and state levels alongside the private sector and organised labour.  

The organized labour leaders noted that the decision to commence industrial action comes after a previous demand for the Federal Government to finalize all negotiations regarding a new minimum wage by the end of May, expired.  

However, a Director-General of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Ajayi Kadri, confirmed on Saturday in a television program that the organized private sector concurred with the federal government that the new minimum wage should be N60,000. 

What the Information minister is saying 

Responding to the threat by the organized labour to embark on strike if their demands were not met, Idris urged organised labour to follow the path of the private sector which has accepted the offer of N60,000 minimum wage by the Federal Government. 

According to him, the proposed minimum wage by the government translates to a 100% increase on the existing minimum wage of 2019. 

He stressed that what organized labour is demanding has the ability to facilitate massive job losses in the country among other negative economic implications. 

The statement added that the Federal Government is concerned with the welfare of over 200 million Nigerians based on its “Guiding Principle of Affordability, Sustainability, and the overall health of the nation’s economy.” 

“The Federal Government’s New Minimum Wage proposal amounts to a 100% increase on the existing minimum wage 2019. Labour, however, wanted N494,000, which would increase by 1,547% on the existing wage.  

“The sum of N494,000 national minimum wage which Labour is seeking would cumulatively amount to the sum N9.5 trillion bill to the Federal Government of Nigeria.   

“Nigerians need to understand that whereas the FG is desirous of ample remuneration for Nigerian workers, what is most critical is that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not encourage any action that could lead to massive job loss, especially in the private sector, who may not be able to pay the wage demanded by the Organised Labour,” the minister was quoted as saying. 

  • Idris seized the moment to appeal to the Organised Labour to return to the negotiating table, and embrace reasonable and realistic wages for their members, assuring that the wage award of N35,000 for Federal workers would continue until a new national minimum wage is introduced. 
  • Labour representatives keep accusing the government of failing to provide substantiated data to support their offer, which further worsened the situation.  
  • The rift between organized labour and successive governments remains unresolved resulting in legal disputes many times.

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