By Adedayo Akinwale and Mercy Apollos in Abuja
A group, the Centre for Credible Leadership Citizens Awareness, has called on organised labour to reconsider the proposed minimum wage of N22,500 in order to avert an imminent collapse of the economy and possible retrenchment of the workforce.
The group said it believed that the workers as true patriots of the Nigerian nation deserve very good condition of work and a sustainable living wage, bringing to bare the inflationary trend in the country and the prevailing economic realities.
It however noted that the introduction of N18,000 minimum wage came as a great relief, but the reality is that till date, some states of the federation are yet to implement it, stressing that even some states which implemented the increase in wages are still unable to pay fully the agreed sum.
The convener of the group, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel, made the plea at a press conference Friday in Abuja, saying that several states still owe workers salaries not because the governors do not want to pay but because resources available to individual state and the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) vary from one state to the other.
According to him, “As a coalition of civil society organisations therefore, who are mindful of the degree of commitment of the average worker in Nigeria, we hereby call on the organised labour, NLC, TUC, etc as true patriotic citizens of Nigeria they are, to please reconsider the of N22,500 as realistic and achievable in order to avert an imminent collapse of our economy and a possible retrenchment of the workforce.”
Gabriel warned that if the states are compelled by any form of legislation to pay some specific amount as minimum wage, then the states might resort to the only available option, which is the retrenchment of the workforce.
He stated that this option is what the states are consistently trying to avoid because of the prevailing economic condition.
Gabriel noted: “The Nigerian economy is already overburdened with very high recurrent expenditure which is sourced abroad via borrowing. Our economy is hemorrhaging seriously. The IMF has warned Nigeria of the possible consequences of excessive borrowing. We can further worsen this situation via a unilateral increase of wages.”