• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria’s minimum wage, lowest among 7 selected African countries

Nigeria’s minimum wage, the benchmark for money receivable by workers in Africa’s biggest economy at N30, 000, is the lowest among seven selected countries across Africa, a BusinessDay’s findings have shown.

Using an average N1,500 to a dollar exchange rate, a Nigerian worker goes home at the end of 30 working days with a meagre $20, an amount not enough to afford a half bag of rice in the present economy.

Meanwhile, as at 2023, workers in Seychelles, Libya, Morocco, Gabon, South Africa, Mauritius and Equatorial Guinea have $456, $325, $315, $256, $242, $240 and $224 respectively as their minimum “take home” at the end of the month.

Nigeria’s national minimum wage has been N18,000 for seven years until it was increased to N30,000 in 2018, an amount it has remained for the past six years.

Even as the country battles with record levels inflation at 31.70 percent in February, and cost of food which gulps a chunk of Nigerians’ income on a race at 37.92 percent, Nigerian workers are at the mercy of the economic headwinds.

The labour had said the current pay receivable by workers was not realistic, citing the stifling economic crisis which has seen the headline inflation of the country hit a 27-year record.

Given that the naira is strengthening against the bullish dollar, the country’s local currency still exchanges at about N1,300/$. However, in 2018 when the minimum wage was announced, naira sold at an average of N400 to a dollar at the parallel market.

Nigerian workers’ longstanding yearnings may see an end soon as there are growing indications that President Bola Tinubu may announce a new minimum wage during his inaugural Workers’ Day address on May 1.

In January, the Federal Government inaugurated the tripartite committee responsible for deliberating on the national minimum wage which was inaugurated by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

A 37-member panel was constituted at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja, comprising representatives of the federal and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour. The committee’s mandate is to propose a revised national minimum wage for the nation.

During zonal public hearings in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, and Abuja, workers in the North-West requested N485,000; North-East, N560,000; North-Central, N709,000 (NLC) and N447,000 (TUC); South-West, N794,000; South-South, N850,000; and South-East, N540,000 by the NLC and N447,000 by the TUC.

However, the Adamawa and Bauchi state governments suggested N45,000 as the new minimum wage.

The NLC had on Friday said governors who fail to implement the new minimum wage when it becomes a law would be breaking the law, warning that it was working towards ensuring that tougher sanctions would be meted on such governors.

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