66,500naira National Minimum Wage; Reality or Façade

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By Ayinde Oluseye

The recent clamour for upward review of the National Minimum wage by Labour unions from N18,000 to N66,500 seem to be making a lot of round in the news space; but with the Vice-President Prof. Yemi Oshibajo’s affirmation to the Workers’ request now makes the Federal government’s acceptance look more like a political gimmick having in mind this administration has less than 10months before its expiration.
The implementation of the N66,500 minimum wage is most likely to trigger a hyper-inflation and the government is yet to roll out its policies to combat the effects of this very important decision. Nigeria currently is battling against 13.34% inflation rate and a 369.4% increment in wages of workers in the country could be a catastrophe in waiting.
Although, the N18,000 minimum wage cannot take a worker to the gate of his/her place of work talk-less being a take-home pay at the month-end, but in situation where over 17 States of the country are struggling to pay the minimum wage of N18,000 with most of them upon getting bail-outs from the Federal governments are still owing their workers.
What is the Federal government going to do about the private sectors? Where cost of production is on the high rise, electricity supply on the low supply but with high price. Security of lives and properties in the middle-belt is not forth-coming, the country’s currently battling with 18.8% unemployment rate, and this decision is likely to push more workers into the labour market.
What the Federal government should be implementing according to our economic experts is providing basic social amenities and palliatives for the average Nigerian instead of throwing monies at every problem. Housing mortgages, affordable healthcare system, car loan facilities and conducive education for workers’ children would create a better result instead of this abnormal increment which in the end would make no meaningful impact in the lives of an average Nigerian worker.
Today seem to be a good day for the Federal government with our major source of revenue which is currently selling for an average of $75 per barrel, what would happen if the price crashes to about $20-25 per barrel?