Presidential Aide Calls for Rational Minimum Wage Negotiations

As the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) engage the government in talks for a new national minimum wage, a presidential aide has urged both sides to approach the discussions in a measured and economically realistic manner., pub-3822032484198406, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

Mr. Temitope Ajayi, Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, acknowledged the need for a higher minimum wage amidst the rising cost of living. However, he cautioned that the negotiations must be grounded in economic realities and the capacity of employers, both in the public and private sectors, to pay.

“Save for Lagos and probably 3 other states, I don’t think there is any state in Nigeria today that can conveniently pay above N50,000 minimum wage,” Ajayi stated. He noted that the current N30,000 minimum wage has not yet been implemented even in some states, with Zamfara State only now beginning to pay the expired wage

Ajayi warned that an astronomical increase to a N615,000 minimum wage, as has been proposed, would be unsustainable for the economy. “It means we will all have to pay our drivers, gatemen, cooks, shop attendants, office assistants, waiters etc N615,000 every month. The economy simply cannot support that,” he said

The presidential aide emphasized that the purpose of a minimum wage is not to make workers wealthy, but to provide a basic living standard. He pointed to examples in developed economies where minimum wage earners often have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Ajayi urged the labor unions to engage in a more rational conversation that considers economic realities, rather than pursuing an “aluta (struggle) approach” which he believes could further depress the economy and create confusion.

He suggested that after negotiating a reasonable and realistic minimum wage, the focus should shift to how the government can address the high cost of living through interventions like improved public transportation, affordable food and housing. Ajayi also called for greater collaboration between labor and the government to boost industrial capacity and employment.

As the minimum wage negotiations continue, stakeholders await a middle ground that uplifts workers while maintaining macroeconomic stability.

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