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Hardship: Minimum Wage should be N1m – Ajaero

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, has said President Bola Tinubu-led administration should make the new minimum wage for workers N1 million.

Ajaero said the economy has got so worse and the only relevant minimum wage to address this is N1 million.

The NLC president said this while speaking in an interview on Arise Television, adding that the demand is a reflection of galloping inflation in the country and the depreciation of the naira.

“This N1 million may be relevant if the value of the Nigerian (naira) continues to depreciate and if the inflation is not checked because the demand of labour is equally dependent on what is happening in the society,” Ajaero said.

“You will remember that by the time we were contemplating N200,000, the exchange rate was about N800/N900. As we talk today, the exchange rate is about N1,400 or even more.

“Those are the issues that determine the demand and it is equally affecting the cost of living. And we had always said it that our demand will be based on cost of living index.

“You will agree with me today that even a bag of rice is going for about N60,000/N70,000 or more. A bag of even locally produced corn is about N56,000 or more.

“Foodstuff is getting out of reach. Now are we going to get a minimum wage that will not be enough for transportation even for one week?

“You have to factor in all these issues and that will determine the federal government’s commitment to this negotiation.

“It is not just that they want to give us minimum wage. The old minimum wage will be expiring by April and ordinarily, the federal government ought to have set up a committee six months before that time so that negotiation would have commenced.

“It appears we are going to work within one month or two to agree on a figure and I doubt how those ones are going to… especially when you look at the people that the federal government assembled as members of the committee.”

The country has been plunged into economic downturn since Tinubu removed fuel subsidy on May 29, 2023, followed by other policies such as the unification of offical and parallel foreign exchange market, among others.

This has caused the depreciation of naira against the US dollar forcing the rising high cost of living in the country.

Nigerians protested in five states – Niger, Kano, Kogi, Osun and Lagos last week to protest the high cost of living.

On Thursday, the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) gave the federal government a 14-day ultimatum to address the rising cost of living in the country.

Meanwhile, Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District, Adams Oshiomhole, said the hardship Nigerians are battling with are from the impact of the policies of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former governor of Edo State said President Tinubu should not be held accountable for the right or wrong decisions taken by the previous administration.

Oshiomhole said he (President Tinubu) always places national interests above partisan interests.

He said, “My first loyalty is to Nigeria. At some point, before the last president left office, I lamented loudly what I saw as reckless policies that were designed to dehumanize the population that was already in pain.

“I felt that it is not what the then president promised. I dissociated myself from those policies and I’m happy that I was not the only one.

“There were governors who approached the court to denounce some of those policies. It is the long term consequences of those policies that we are still grappling with now.

“Yes, it is our party platform. Like Tinubu also said, he was not a minister or adviser. He never took a contract in that government and he cannot be held responsible for what the government did right or wrong.”

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