Nigerian labor leader says new minimum wages to boost economy

LAGOS, The proposed workers minimum wage will boost Nigeria’s economy rather than trigger inflation, a top official with the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) said Thursday.

The assertion that an increase in workers’ salary would lead to inflation was not true, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC’s president, said in oil rich city of Asaba, Delta State.

“It is not true and has no empirical basis that an upward review of minimum wage would trigger inflation in the country,” he added.

“This is because when the minimum wage was increased in 2011, in fact, the inflation rates went down,” he said.

He blamed the challenges being faced by the people on high cost of governance in the country.

On the ongoing wage negotiation, Wabba called on government and employers of labor to respect the will of the workers.

Labor union leaders are asking the federal government to raise the national minimum wage from 18,000 naira (50.07 U.S. dollars) to 56,000 naira, citing the current economic realities, especially the high rate of inflation in the country.

The 18,000-naira minimum wage was approved when the naira was exchanging at 145 naira to the dollar, and it has been unchanged for over eight years.

The naira now stands at around 360 to the dollar on the parallel market.

The Nigerian government said it will reconvene a meeting of the 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for the negotiation of a new minimum wage.

The committee was set up by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2017.

Source: Ghana News Agency