Salihu Lukman, the director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has said if Nigerian workers are optimally productive, the minimum wage should not be anywhere less than N100,000.
Lukman stated this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, wherein he argued that the “current minimum wage of N30,000 for any family is an apology.”
He faulted the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) for declaring that ‘should the need arise, it has empowered the National Administrative Council (NAC) to declare and enforce a national strike action especially if the legislators continue on the ruinous path of moving the national minimum wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list’.
The PGF DG said Mohammed Datti, member of the House of Representatives (APC, Kaduna) is one person that has demonstrated an abiding commitment to ensuring that the country is able to move forward by sponsoring a bill to move minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list in the 1999 constitution in line with recommendations of the report of the APC Committee on True Federalism.
“Being a member of APC and also one of the representatives of 10th House of Representatives in the National Executive Committee of the APC, it is within his competence to initiate a legislative process on any of the recommendations in the APC true federalism committee report.
“Any Nigerian who disagrees with him should take advantage of the legislative process to ensure that the bill is not passed. Part of the democratic logic is that all interest groups including the NLC can activate the process of lobby and advocacy to mobilise members of the National Assembly to adopt their positions.
“It may be convenient for the leadership of labour, including the NLC, to retain the current framework of determining minimum wage based on the capacity of the Federal Government. Unfortunately, our union leaders have weakened themselves so much that their negotiating power is hardly oriented based on knowledgeable disposition about workers’ input in the production process at all levels in the country.
“Today, we have a minimum wage of N30,000, which unions have been unable to achieve implementation in many states and many private sector establishments. In fact, even at the time of negotiating the minimum wage of N30,000, there were problems of getting the old minimum wage of N18,000 in many states and private establishments implemented. Some of the states that were able to implement the minimum wage are barely surviving.
“Rather than objectively reviewing our challenges, our labour leaders imagined that threatening political leaders with strikes is the way to go. This is most unfortunate. NLC leadership may want to share the full picture of the status of implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage, both in the public and private sectors, with Nigerians.
“Elementary analysis would caution about the consequence of continuing with a centralised framework for minimum wage legislation based on using the financial capacity of Federal Government to fix national minimum wage that is hardly informed by economic indices of work output across the country and reflecting all sectors of the economy.
“Such a framework can only result in either short-changing workers in high-revenue states/areas or over-stretching employers in low-revenue states/areas. Certainly, a review of wage-fixing theories would highlight these challenges and perhaps dangers”, Lukman added.