MINIMUM WAGE IMPLEMENTATION LONG OVERDUE AS NIGERIAN GOVERNORS AGREE TO COMPLY
Due to the continuous increase in prices, the Labour union fought for the increment of the minimum wage to improve the standard of living of the citizens. Thus, between 1989 and 2001, the minimum wage increased from N250 to N3,000; N5,000; N7,500 and finally to N18,000.
Presently, the new minimum wage has increased to N30, 000 which was signed into law on 18 April 2019 by President Mohamadu Buhari after a long wait for its approval by many Nigerians. The Nigerian Labour Congress alongside Nationwide Campaigns stood as championing factors for the increment and implementation of the new minimum wage. However, the amount finally agreed and implemented is relatively too low to carter for the needs of an average Nigerian in this harsh economic realities.
Notwithstanding, The Minister for productivity and labour, Dr. Chris Ngige has earlier confirmed that the junior workers in the employment of the Federal government have started receiving the N30, 000 minimum wage but only few state governors follow suites and have complied to the payment of the new minimum wage while it is still a source of nightmare to most state governors. Of a truth, some states cannot afford to pay such amount while some can but they are reluctant to respond to the directives of the federal government, maybe, for some political reasons.
Consequently, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has agreed to start paying the new minimum wage of N30, 000 a month as from January 2019 after holding a meeting in Abuja where its members accepted that they are now legally obliged to honour the new figure. The NGF chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, has assured that there is no debate or contention regarding the new minimum wage as all governors have agreed to start paying it. He explained, however, that the amounts paid will not be uniform as while some states can pay up to N50, 000, some will pay less but everyone will agree to the minimum of N30, 000. This means that no state will pay less than N30, 000.
Drawing inferences from the above, Who should we hold responsible if there are still loopholes in the execution of this bill? I suggest that it is pertinent that all state governors go back to their drawing boards and fine-tune ways of generating internal revenue to meet up with this obligation. The federal government may, however; also raise the revenue allocation of those states who may find it difficult to pay to assist them to accomplish this task.
Sincerely, this issue is long overdue and should not be seen in the front pages of newspapers again except for the fact that the minimum wage itself needs to be reviewed. The government should do whatever is needed to be done to make it work.