President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, March 28th 2019 signed a new minimum wage bill into law. The signing marks the beginning of a new national minimum debt which in economic reality was what the president signed.
The presidency and the Nigerian Labour Congress NLC was in the last few months immersed in hot deliberation on the new national minimum wage. The federal government led tripartite committee agreed on #30:000 new minimum wage.
Some state governors decline to accent the proposed #30:000 minimum wage. The proposed #27:000 new minimum wage. The argument went back and forth like Barcelona tiki-taka. The president summoned a national council of state meeting where a #27:000 new minimum wage was proposed.
The president transmits the same to the National Assembly. The NLC took to the street to protest against #27;000 new minimum wage. Finally, the National Assembly approved a #30;000 minimum wage while the president signs it into law.
Opinion is free but facts are sacred. The argument for a new minimum wage is legal. The minimum wage act of 2004 puts the monthly minimum wage at #5;500. The 2011 national minimum wage act puts the minimum wage at #18;000. While the 2919 minimum wage act puts the monthly minimum wage at #30:000.
The difference between 2004 minimum wage of #5;500 and 2011 minimum wage of #18;000 is #12;500. The difference between 2011 minimum wage of #18;000 and 2019 minimum wage of #30:000 is #12:000
The increase in 2004 and 2011 monthly wage only led to inflation without any meaningful increase in the welfare of Nigerian workers. The #30:000 new minimum wage is the president assent to a new national minimum debt.
At the moment a high number of our states can not afford the #18(000 minimum wage despite several financial interventions by the president. It will be extremely difficult if not impossible for several states to pay this new national minimum wage without massive retrenchment In the civil service.
It is illogical to put the issue of a minimum wage above infrastructural development because quality infrastructure drives national growth and development. The national minimum wage can be as low as #5;000 while the welfare of the workers and the citizens are well taken care of.
This is simple economics the difference between nominal wage and real wage. It’s about the volume of money in your hand and your purchasing power what it could buy.
In the early 1990s, a gallon of kerosene was sold at #2:50k a gallon of kerosene is four litres of kerosene. Today a gallon of kerosene is sold around #1:000. What has changed the same quantity but different prices.
The federal government spends about fifty per cent of the budget on servicing its national debt. The federal government also proposed an increase in value added tax VAT in order to fund the new national minimum wage. A leader of the ruling party in Nigeria advices against an increase in VAT.
The signing of the new national minimum wage is the signing of new national minimum debt for Nigeria.
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