MINIMUM WAGE: THE DISTRESS CALL OF DISTRESSED WORKERS

Emeka Ezekwesiri Chigozie

(c) 2017.


The problem with Nigeria is our penchant for solving problems by creating more problems. Thus, we are comfortable with solving the problem of corruption with reckless disregard for rule of law and democratic institutions; we are comfortable with solving the problem of militancy, herdsmen, Boko Haram, kidnappers and all the other practitioners of crime with amnesty; and the persisting problem of proper representation and participation in governance with a merit killing scheme like federal character, even in core sectors that require only merit; like admission to colleges and universities.

It is therefore sad that the labour unions are clamouring for an increase in the minimum wage from 18,000 naira to 56,000 naira, when it is obvious that this will invariably increase the recurrent expenditure of all governments in Nigeria, adversely affect the private manufacturing sectors, and lead to a poor capital expenditure, thus even worsening Nigeria’s economic recession and pushing up inflation. This is the case given that increase in the minimum wage will most certainly be adjudged as excess cash flow by both manufacturers, service providers and property managers leading to increase in prices of goods and services; and rent and mortgages.

It is even logic defying given that at the current 18,000 naira minimum wage, many states are owing large salary debts, and have twice had to rely on the Paris Bailout funds, and yet the problem is far from over. An example is a state like Kogi where it is reported that workers are still owed as much 12 months in salary arrears.

With the continued decline in crude oil prices, and the upsurge in clean energy technology, and even the invention of electric cares by Tesla, it does not appear that Nigeria’s revenue will increase any time soon to handle the demand; given the overbearing reliance on crude oil as a source of foreign exchange. While the Nigerian workers may venture to think that more money will solve their problems, that is totally false. In an economy like Nigeria’s, more money, in terms of salary, will result in higher expenditure and more problems. This is simply because inflation will either halve or eliminate whatever advantages that little salary increase has brought.

In conclusion, the point that is being canvassed is that the Nigerian economy does not need the added challenge of higher minimum wage at this time; the best that can be done is to find ways to improve the economy and get the economy out of recession; thus making the Naira strong.

 

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