President Muhammad Buhari last week Thursday signed the national minimum wage bill into law. The bill became law after the National Assembly unanimously agreed with the amount and passed it. Mr President last year constituted a tripartite committee consisting of the Nigeria Labour Congress, organised private sector and government representatives and charged it with the responsibility of working out acceptable national minimum wage. After series of consultations, the committee recommended N30,000 as the new minimum wage. The national minimum wage by law is reviewed every five years to reflect the economic reality of the country.
The last time salary was reviewed and increased to 18,000 was in 2011.With the increased pump price of petrol in 2015 which led to a raise in the price of good and services, Nigerian workers have been groaning. In my article entitled “Nigerian workers deserve living wage” I concluded that the morale and productivity of Nigerian workers have reduced drastically in recent times due to inflation which continued to eat up their little salary. Prior to pump price increase, the price of rice was N8000 and many workers could afford it. Now, the market price of rice is N18,000, beyond the reach of the ordinary workers. You can count as many items as possible that their prices have skyrocketed within the period under review.
There is fear being expressed by Nigerians that the increase in salary might trigger inflation, unless the government would put in place adequate measures to control the price of good and services. However, the recent consumer price index survey has indicated the prices of food items have crashed in the local market. It is reported that the price of local rice and beans hovers between N10,000 and N14,000 respectively. This is a cheering news for Nigerians and the workers who are expecting the implementation of the new minimum wage. If the government can maintain the current petroleum pump price and fix the erratic power supply, our manufacturing companies will not likely jerk up the cost of their goods and services.
Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State