• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Minimum Wage: BudgIT uncovers N132.2bn ‘frivolous’ 2024 budget allocation

Labour rejects FG’s N60,000 minimum wage offer
Civic-tech organization,  BudgIT disclosed Tuesday that up to N132.2 billion were budgeted for frivolities in the 2024  budget, funds that could be used to pay up to 55,083 workers a minimum wage of N100,000 monthly for 2 years.
In its analysis tagged “Opportunity Cost of Frivolities in the 2024 Budget.”, the organisation disclosed that in the National Assembly budget alone, N53.12 billion can be used to pay 22,083 workers a minimum of N100,000 monthly for 2 years.

The average Nigerian currently earns N30,000 as minimum wage, an amount that has become insufficient due to the high rate of inflation and the rising cost of living.

Prices of goods and services have significantly increased, diminishing the purchasing power of the minimum wage, consequently, many workers and their families are struggling to make ends meet on the current minimum wage. Organized labour argues that the wage is not enough to provide for basic needs such as food, housing, healthcare, and education.

But the analysis by BudgIT published on its official X handle reveals Nigeria could afford a higher minimum wage with cuts to frivolous spending.

The organisation listed frivolous allocations in the National Assembly Budget to include; N4 billion for the National Assembly recreation centre, N6 billion for the Senate and House of Representatives car park,  N2 billion for the purchase of SUVs, among others; N3 bn for procurement of books in the NASS library, N15 billion for National Assembly Hospital Project,  12.12 billion for National Assembly Library Complex (take-off grant), and N10 billion for construction of National Assembly Service Commission.

Other frivolous allocations in the 2024 budget according to the organization include; N10 billion for the digitization of the state house, N4 billion for the purchase of state house vehicles, N2 billion for the replacement of SUV vehicles,  N3.5 billion for the acquisition and furnishing of state house annexe, and N90 billion for hajj pilgrimage.

Others are; N3.5 billion for the construction of an office complex for Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants, N9.2 billion for the annual maintenance of electrical at the Villa, N5 billion for the renovation of the Vice President’s quarters in Lagos, and N5 billion for renovation of dodan barracks presidential lodge.

Negotiations for a new national minimum wage between the organised labour and federal government have stalled for several weeks without a consensus. The organised labour had proposed N615,500 and then N494,000 as the new national minimum wage, which the government said was unrealistic.

The federal government proposed N60,000 and later increased it to N62,000, but the labour unions are now insisting on ₦250,000 at the last meeting of the tripartite committee on minimum wage as the living wage for an average Nigerian worker.

Meanwhile,  the Nigerian Governors Forum declared last week Friday that the N60,000  proposal is unsustainable as it was too high.
Read also: N60,000 minimum wage, too high, unsustainable – Governors

The NGF position, coming on the heels of a similar comment by George Akume, Secretary to the federal government, that he cannot afford N100,000 for each of his four drivers may provide clear indications for the reasons why the negotiations have dragged endlessly.

However, the new analysis of the 2024 budget by BudgIT suggests that Nigeria can afford to pay N100,000 to workers if it could redirect priorities in the 2024 budget.

In March 2024, the organisation revealed that the national assembly inserted 7,447 constituency projects worth N2.24 trillion in the 2024 project.

The organisation said most of the projects inserted into the budget by the national assembly have “no national significance but narrowed to personal interests”.