Minimum Wage: Why Governors Are Right and What Should Be Done

  • The minimum wage controversy between the governors and organised labour concerning the N60,000 proposed by the federal government
  • Okanlawon Gaffar,

The governors have been said to be on the right track on the controversy on minimum wage

What governors are saying is rightSource: Twitter

The governors say N60,000 as minimum wage is not sustainable despite the fact that the Nigeria Labour Congress humorously initially fixed the amount to over N600,000. N600,000 is not possible for a poor country like Nigeria. I don’t think that the federal government should set the minimum wage to affect all states. This is itself the problem of our centralised government.

Each state should be able to determine its own minimum wage based on its capacity. If Lagos can pay N150,000 as minimum wage and a state like Katsina can pay N30,000, so be it. States still make their own money despite receiving allocations from Abuja.

This is still a weakness of our centralised government. If Nigeria were practising federalism as it should be, states would determine their minimum wage based on their capacity, and someone in Katsina would not be jealous of someone in Lagos because their cost of living is not the same.

Minimum wage: What should be done

The governors are right that they cannot pay N62,000 as minimum wage, but I am aware that Rivers and Lagos states have come out to say they can pay as high as N70,000 or N80,000 as minimum wage. A centralised system of government for a country like Nigeria is unreasonable. If we truly want to practice true federalism, states should be able to determine their own minimum wage based on their capacity.

It should not just be based on what states themselves can provide. Decentralisation must also reach the level where states are able to sustain themselves based on what they can produce. So, a state like Osun should not rival Lagos regarding civil service. In fact, the civil service should not be the biggest employer of Labour in any reasonable state.

Lagos should be able to employ those it can pay a reasonable living wage based on the cost of living of that state, and Zamfara should also. So, if it can only pay a hundred people if it can pay a thousand people, it should employ a thousand people.

Source: Fox Nigeria


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