Minimum Wage Demand Would Cost Nigeria Whopping N9.5 Trillion Annually, Govt Says

The Nigerian government has responded to the demands of organized labor for a significantly higher minimum wage.

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In a press conference, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, stated that the labor union’s demand for a N494,000 ($1,075) minimum wage is unsustainable and would cost the government a staggering N9.5 trillion ($20.6 billion) annually.

The minister explained that the government’s current offer of a N60,000 ($130) minimum wage, which represents a 100% increase from the existing 2019 level, has already been accepted by the organized private sector. In contrast, the labor union’s proposed wage would be a 1,547% hike.

Idris argued that such a dramatic increase could destabilize the economy and negatively impact the welfare of Nigeria’s over 200 million citizens. He appealed to labor unions to return to the negotiating table and accept a more realistic and affordable wage.

The minister emphasized the Tinubu administration’s commitment to worker welfare, noting that the current N35,000 ($76) wage for federal workers will continue until a new national minimum wage is introduced.

The government’s stance highlights the challenge of balancing worker demands with broader economic concerns. As negotiations continue, both sides will need to find a middle ground that addresses the needs of employees while ensuring the country’s long-term financial stability.

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