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    Minimum Wage Talks: Labour Considers N100,000 As Tinubu Issues Ultimatum

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    By Milcah Tanimu

    Organised Labour in Nigeria is considering settling for a minimum wage of N100,000 as discussions intensify with the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage. Initially, labour demanded N494,000, but this proposal faced significant criticism for being unrealistic.

    The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, highlighted that the initial proposal would lead to an unsustainable annual expenditure of N9.5 trillion. Despite interventions from the National Assembly, labour began an indefinite strike on June 2, affecting banks, airports, public schools, and courts.

    In response, President Bola Tinubu directed the Finance Minister, Wale Edun, to present the cost implications of a new minimum wage within two days. Subsequently, the unions suspended their strike for five days to facilitate ongoing negotiations, with a focus on achieving a minimum wage higher than N60,000.

    During a meeting on June 4, labour representatives expressed their intent to conclude negotiations with a N100,000 minimum wage. The Deputy Head of NLC Political Commission, Prof. Theophilus Ndubuaku, confirmed that the meeting was primarily to set an agenda for the week-long discussions. Labour emphasized that any new wage must reflect the purchasing power equivalent to N30,000 in 2019 and N18,000 in 2014.

    TUC President Festus Osifo rejected the idea of minor incremental increases to the proposed wage. He stressed the need for a substantial offer that addresses current inflationary pressures.

    The Federal Government, represented by Idris, assured of President Tinubu’s commitment to a balanced and sustainable wage increase. The President has mandated collaboration with the organised private sector and sub-nationals to establish an affordable and realistic new wage.

    Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives have called for a minimum wage exceeding N100,000. Minority Leader Kingsley Chinda emphasized the necessity of a living wage, proposing at least $200 (N298,800) per month. He noted the constitutional obligation to ensure citizens’ welfare.

    Senator Orji Kalu proposed a new minimum wage of N90,000, suggesting a range between N75,000 and N90,000 would be reasonable given the economic context. Former Senate President Ahmad Lawan underscored the importance of stabilizing the naira’s value to enhance the impact of any wage increase.

    Former CBN deputy governor Kingsley Moghalu recommended a minimum wage between N75,000 and N100,000, citing the need for enhanced productivity to support higher wages. He argued that productivity improvements through human capital development and reliable electricity are essential for sustainable wage growth.

    Overall, the negotiations are ongoing, with the labour unions poised to resume their strike if a satisfactory agreement is not reached within the stipulated timeframe.

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