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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Soludo warns against approving unsustainable wage



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• We planned N70,000 monthly salary three years ago, says Obaseki

• NLC: no agreement yet

Anambra State Governor Chukwuma Soludo has warned President Bola Tinubu about the consequences of endorsing what he called an unsustainable wage increase.

Soludo spoke during a panel of discussion at an event with the theme: Democracy and the free Market Economy, organised by the Covenant Nation to mark Democracy Day yesterday in Lagos.

The governor examined the complexities surrounding the minimum wage debate and the broader economic implications.

He acknowledged the emotions behind the minimum wage debate, saying: “The worker is saying his wage can’t take him home,” while the conversation often missed critical aspects of the issue, such as productivity and the ability to pay.

“Nobody is talking about productivity. Nobody is talking about the ability to pay,” he said, drawing attention to the gap between public perception and economic reality.

Soludo painted a grim picture of Nigeria’s financial landscape, explaining that even if the Federal Government’s revenue reached an optimistic N17 trillion, it would only amount to N6,160 per person when distributed monthly across the entire population.

“That’s what comes out per capita,” he said.

Analysing the broader impact of the matter, Soludo noted that the debate on minimum wage often overlooked the ramifications for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the largest employers in the country.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor recounted conversations with several SME owners in his state, saying they were mostly unaware that the proposed wage adjustments would apply to them as well.

Also, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has said his administration planned a N70,000 minimum wage three years ago when there were signs that the economy was heading in the wrong direction.

Obaseki said this when the Editorial Board of Tell magazine presented him with the Award for Exceptional Courage in Leadership at the Government House yesterday in Benin, the state capital.

He said: “We are able to pay the N70,000 minimum wage because we planned ahead in the last three years because we knew a day like this would come.

“Thank God that we have been vindicated today, as our sincerity has helped us prevail over every situation. We see prospects for a better economy and transparent government in Edo State because of the institutional reforms we have introduced to better manage the state.”

Also, The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has denied reaching an agreement on a new national minimum wage with the Federal Government.

The congress was responding to yesterday’s address of President Bola Tinubu delivered in Abuja.

The congress insisted that it would not accept anything below N250,000 as the new wage for workers.

Alluding to President Tinubu’s Democracy Day speech, the NLC said: “We appreciate the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered, despite some hiccups.

“However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who was in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonise the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift…”

Credit: The Nation