Home Economy Living wage in Nigeria should be N615,000, not N450,000—Ajaero 

Living wage in Nigeria should be N615,000, not N450,000—Ajaero 

by Business News Report

Federal Government on Tuesday raised salaries for government workers by between 25% and 35%, backdated to January, the salaries commission said. The lowest-paid government employee will earn N450,000 a year or 37,500 monthly, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission said in a statement. But President Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Joe Ajaero said that N615,000 should be the living wage for workers in Nigeria. Ajaero said this on Wednesday while reacting to the pay rise announced for workers by the Federal Government during an interview on Channels Television. The Federal Government has approved a pay rise of between 25 per cent and 35 per for federal civil servants across various consolidated salary structures. Ajaero, however, said that the 35 per cent pay rise of the federal government civil servants was mischievous. He said the federal government and labour should have finalised discussions on a new minimum wage for now, adding that the last minimum wage of N30,000 expired on April 18.

The increase covers all federal government employees, including those in the health, education and security sectors. The government is separately negotiating with labour unions on a new national monthly minimum wage, which was last reviewed in 2019. Nigerians are facing inflation of 33.20%, the highest in 28 years, after the government removed a popular petrol subsidy and foreign currency controls, which weakened the Naira currency. The country’s electricity regulator this month hiked tariffs for some consumers as the government tries to wean the economy from subsidies to ease pressure on public finances.

Ajaro said “We should be in the regime of new minimum wage as of today. Discussions were supposed to have been concluded. The federal government through the National Assembly legislated on it. But we saw that the discussion entered voice mail because the federal government refused to reconvene the meeting that was adjourned. I think the announcement now appears mischievous because there is no wage increase that government is announcing. For them to announce it now, it is an issue that we are worried about at the NLC and even at the TUC.” Ajaero said the organised labour had agreed on N615,000 as the living wage for civil servants. “Living wage is such that will, at least keep you alive. It is not a wage that will make you poor and poorer. It is not a wage that will make you borrow to go to work. It is not a wage that will lead you to be in the hospital every day because of malnutrition. For that living wage, we have tried to look at N615,000.” Let me give you a breakdown of how we arrived at that figure. We have housing and accommodation of N40,000. We asked for electricity of N20,000 — of course that was before the current tariff increase. “Nobody can spend this amount currently. We have utility that is about N10,000. We looked at kerosene and gas that is about N25,000 to N35,000.

“We looked at food for a family of six, that is about N9,000 in a day. For 30 days, that is about N270,000. Look at medical, N50,000 provided there will be no surgery or whatever. For clothing, we looked at N20,000. For education, N50,000. I don’t know for those who tried to put their children in private school, they will not be able to cope with this amount. We also have sanitation of N10,000. I think where we have another bulk of the money is transportation. This is because the workers stay in the fringes and because of the cost of PMS, that amounted to N110,000. That brought the whole living wage to N615,000 and I want anyone to subject this to further investigation and find out whether there will be any savings when you pay somebody on this rate.”

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