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N54,000 As Workers’ Minimum Wage Falls Short Of Where We Need To Be In Nigeria, Says Osifo

Trade Union President Osifo revealed that state governors were absent at the minimum wage meeting held on Tuesday, prompting postponement.

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday night has said that the suggested N54,000 for minimum wage by the Federal Government falls short of where we need to be in Nigeria. 

The FG had previously proposed the sum of N48,000 for minimum wage, which was rejected by the trade union because it was “ridiculous”. This led to a meeting on Tuesday for a new proposal where the sum of N54,000 was suggested. 

Osifo, in expressing his displeasure with the new proposition by the FG, stated that the meeting today was held with the expectation that the proposal will be “something reasonable.” 

He explained that the N615,000 was a negotiation strategy by the union, saying that “you don’t go into negotiation with your barest minimum, after looking at all factors then you add mark up to it so you have room for adjustment. The N615,000 submitted was a strategy.”

Further speaking on the issue, Osifo highlighted the remarkable difference between the minimum wage of 18,000 naira in 2011, and the suggested 54,000 naira in 2024, using the value of dollar and consumer purchasing power.

 He said, “2011 when N18,000 was passed as the minimum wage, what was the value of USD?  In 2011, N18,000 using an exchange rate of about 140-145 will give you about  $125, which when converted today will get you close to N200,000. What that means is what N18,000 could buy in 2011 you will need almost N200,000 to buy it today.”

Osifo revealed that one of the reasons the meeting held today made no progress and was rescheduled, was due to the absence of the 6 state governors, and lack of mandate by 2 who were represented. He stated that they “asked them if they had any mandate and they said no, so we adjourned the meeting to 4pm on Wednesday.”

 He urged the governors to be present for the meeting on Wednesday and recognise that they “are not here to play and the Nigerians workers are waiting for the outcome of this conversation.”

Osifo clarified that regardless of the presence of the governors at the meeting tomorrow, “as long as the federal government are seated we are going to move forward but not with the N54,000 they have presented to us.”

Nancy Mbamalu

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