Nigeria’s Minimum Wage Talks: NLC Insists on N250,000 as Meeting with President Looms

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Nigeria’s minimum wage debate continues to simmer as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) holds firm to its demand for a significant increase to N250,000 ($573 USD, based on July 2024 exchange rate). This comes ahead of a crucial meeting with President Bola Tinubu scheduled for today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

The current minimum wage in Nigeria, set in 2019, stands at N30,000 ($68 USD). However, the NLC argues that this amount is no longer realistic due to rising inflation, particularly in food prices. They point to the recent government policies of petrol subsidy removal and forex unification as key factors driving up the cost of living.

President Tinubu, committed to further consultations with stakeholders, established a tripartite committee in January 2024. This committee, comprising representatives of the NLC, federal and state governments, and the private sector (Organised Private Sector, OPS), was tasked with negotiating a new minimum wage before the April 2024 expiration of the 2019 Act.

While the committee recommended a N62,000 ($142 USD) minimum wage, a significant increase from the current amount, it fell far short of the NLC’s desired figure. Adding another layer of complexity, state governors have expressed concerns about their ability to meet even the N62,000 proposal.

The NLC’s frustration with the negotiation process boiled over in early June when they declared an indefinite nationwide strike. This action crippled economic activity, shutting down airports, hospitals, banks, and government operations. The strike was eventually suspended after assurances from government officials of a willingness to raise their offer.

Today’s meeting with President Tinubu represents a critical juncture in the minimum wage negotiations. The NLC has reiterated its unwavering stance on N250,000, and it remains to be seen if a compromise can be reached. The outcome of this meeting will have a significant impact on millions of Nigerian workers and the broader economy.

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