Come, How Far This Minimum Wage?

December 17, 2018
We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but everything is now cost. A bag of rice has entered 10k, the good Gala betrayed us and now goes for ₦100, even shayo makers have doubled their hustle, you probably can’t find good Henny for less than ₦12,000 these days.
Now, while prices were competing for how high they could go, Nigerian salaries stared and stayed put like that planking challenge from ’09. Boys were really not smiling. So when we needed them the most, the NLC decided, enough is actually enough.
While this definitely isn’t the lasting solution the Nigerian economy needs- the NLC decided that an increase in the minimum wage was just what the doctor ordered for Nigerian pockets, struggling to keep up with rising prices. They decided ₦50 0000 would be ideal, with one candidate even promising ₦100,000 if he’s elected. Nigerians were just there looking like:
To set things in motion, a National Minimum Wage Committee was set up in November 2017, in the belief that by August/September 2018, Nigerians would be rolling in well… some extra thousands of minimum wage naira. Chris Ngige- the Minister of Labour and Productivity even promised (and failed, big surprise!!!) that by September, everything would be set.
But trust your guys, once September started drawing close, their mouths did a whole 360. Ngige pretty much told the NLC in September: “You know what, let’s adjourn this wage-committee INDEFINITELY, while the government figures some shit out”. Unluckily for the government, the NLC had time for their madness.
You know what happened next, the NLC declared an indefinite warning strike on the 27th of September, then called it off on the 30th of September, when the government promised to re-visit the minimum wage issue. They didn’t, of course. So we had that weird almost-strike thing in November- where the NLC announced a strike for November 6th, then called it off right when everybody had agreed to not iron their clothes for work the next day (apparently a wage had finally been agreed to). Which brings me to one of my biggest issues with this NLC.
You people can’t be promising and failing like this. You can’t threaten me with the good time of an indefinite strike, then call it off after only 3 days. Can’t you remember 2003? 5 days, still chilling. Those were strikes. This toss P striking is not done. It’s not done.
Anyway, after they called off the last strike, we were led to believe a ₦30 000 minimum wage had been agreed on. Some people even said Buhari had agreed to it. Ushers were ready to collect that new-new tithe, boys had already separated December rocks money in their heads; we were just chilling for alert to enter, but then there was… nothing.
But really, since the strike was called off, not a lot has been said about the minimum wage. I mean, a little talk here and some gist there, but it doesn’t look like anything really concrete is in the works.
Now this is where my frustration sets in. The government is clearly banking on the ‘we move still’ attitude of Nigerians to play hooky with this minimum wage. This belief is why workers in Zamfara state have been managing a minimum wage for years that is one-third of the measly ₦18,000 workers in other states currently collect. So while we’ve been complaining of that amount being inadequate, workers in Zamfara have had to manage ₦6,000 MONTHLY, to cater to the needs of their families.
And while the excuse for failing to implement the minimum wage, is there being no money, there are myriad places in this government that excesses can be cut. Take the National Assembly for instance, where lawmakers make about 14 million monthly. That one lawmaker’s salary, can cover the ₦30 000 monthly wage of about 466 Nigeria workers with change. So miss me with that no money talk, when clearly there’s a gold mine not being tapped into, right before our eyes.
Well, we’ll be looking out to see how this minimum wage saga plays out in the government. Until then, who can suggest anything else the NLC can do to get the government’s attention? It’s looking like this strike no too tap for the government again.

Find Zikoko
wherever you are

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.