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Minimum Wage: Prioritise Workers’ Welfare and Save Nigeria From Certain Death, NLC Tells Governors 

The NLC has warned of impending economic collapse and demands fair wages as Nigeria faces rising inflation and government policies.

Amidst a contentious debate over the minimum wage in Nigeria, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has issued a fervent call to state governors to prioritise the welfare of workers.

In a press statement on Friday by the Head of Information and Public Affairs at the NLC, Benson Upah, the labour union expressed deep concern over recent statements by the Nigeria Governors Forum suggesting financial incapacity to meet a minimum wage of N60,000.

The statement read, “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.”

Highlighting the importance of a reasonable minimum wage, Upah stressed its role in protecting workers’ welfare, particularly in the face of rising inflation and economic challenges. He noted that the current minimum wage is inadequate to support families, especially with the sharp increase in living costs.

Moreover, Upah warned of the adverse effects of government policies such as fuel subsidy removal, currency devaluation, energy tariff hikes, and interest rate increases. He cautioned that these policies would worsen economic hardship for Nigerians, particularly the poor.

Upah then said, “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.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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