Nigerian Governors Warn Against Uniform N62,000 Minimum Wage Amid Retrenchment Concerns

Federal Government Officials and some members of Nigerian Labour Union

Nigerian governors have expressed concerns over the proposed N62,000 minimum wage. The governors caution that enforcing this wage across all states could potentially lead to a significant reduction in the workforce, with estimates suggesting up to 40% of workers may face retrenchment.

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has been vocal in its stance, emphasizing the diverse economic realities of the states. They argue that while some states like Lagos, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers, Ogun, Kano, and Kaduna have the financial capacity to implement the N62,000 minimum wage, others are grappling with substantial debts and may not sustain such a wage structure without compromising their workforce and development projects.

This statement comes amid ongoing negotiations between Nigerian labour unions and the government regarding the new minimum wage. The labour movement has criticized the governors for rejecting the N62,000 proposal, calling it “grossly inadequate” for Nigerian workers. Meanwhile, the federal government maintains its offer of a N62,000 monthly minimum wage.

The NGF’s position highlights the complexity of implementing a uniform wage policy in a federal system like Nigeria’s, where states’ abilities to pay vary significantly. The governors draw parallels with the United States, where salaries of public officials differ across states due to the federal constitution’s operation.

The debate takes on added significance in light of research indicating that increases in the minimum wage have historically led to shocks in employment and inflation rates in Nigeria. With the country’s economy still recovering from various challenges, the proposed wage increase’s implications on employment cannot be overlooked.

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