Nigerian Governors Forum rejects new minimum wage proposal of N60,000 a month

NIGERIA'S 36 state governors have rejected a proposal from the federal government to increase the country's minimum wage to N60,000 (£41) per annum from the current N30,000 saying they will not be able to afford it.


Over recent months, Nigeria's National Minimum Wage Committee has been working on negotiations regarding a new rate to reflect current economic realities. Nigeria's current minimum wage is wholly inadequate, especially in the face of the hyper-inflation tearing the country apart, with labour unions asking for an increment that will guarantee workers are paid a living wage.


Earlier today, the governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF),rejected the proposed N60,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers. NGF spokesman Halimah Salihu Ahmed, said that the governors agreed that the proposed minimum wage is too high and not sustainable.


She added that the NGF expressed concerns that if the N60,000 minimum wage is adopted, many states would allocate their entire Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) funds to salaries, leaving no resources for development projects. According to Ms Ahmed, although the governors were sympathetic to the plight of workers, they simply could not afford what was being asked for.


Ms Ahmed said: "The Nigeria Governors’ Forum is in agreement that a new minimum wage is due and the forum also sympathises with labour unions in their push for higher wages. However, the forum urges all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.


"The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it, as any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic. All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and cannot fly.


"It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes. In fact, a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month.


"We do not think this will be in the collective interest of the country, including workers. We appeal that all parties involved, especially the labour unions, consider all the socioeconomic variables and settle for an agreement that is sustainable, durable and fair to all other segments of the society who have legitimate claim to public resources."