MINIMUM WAGE: See How Civil Servants React To N22,500 Proposal
Has the government acted in consonant with an adage that says, "cut your coat according to your cloth"?
While the labour unions are requesting for 30,000 Naira, the government says it can only afford 22,500 Naira which is just 4,500 Naira different from what it used to be - 18,000 Naira.
That should have naturally triggered joy in offices of the government but that is yet to be felt, as workers expressed disappointment in the meager increase that is not even enough to make a pot of soup.
A staff of Voice of Nigeria (VON), who simply identified herself as Amaka, said the increment is annoying and expressed surprise that the government could not raise the National Minimum Wage to 40,000 Naira.
The government had complained that the wage burden would be more than it could shoulder with the revenue generated, insisting that it was being realistic.
But the civil servant said the government should give consideration to a few other things to increase funds that are available for salary.
She suggested that those in governance should consider cutting down on security votes and the remuneration that politicians in Nigeria receive.
"Couldn't they afford to cut down on security votes which aren't accounted for?
"What does a politician earn? Why do politicians earn bogus salaries? Maybe they should be placed on minimum wage.
"What's the current market outlook?
"Is there a separate market for us all?" she asked.
The current government had promised to put the welfare of workers topmost in its list, but Amaka insisted that 22,500 Naira was an aberration to the government's celebrated commitment to workers' welfare.
For a staff of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), who wanted to remain anonymous, the new National Minimum Wage of 22,500 Naira was a laughable development.
"Although it is long overdue, the increment of 4,500 Naira from 18,000 Naira is preposterous.
"Why can't they pay the 30,000 Naira that the labour union is asking for?" the NIMC staff questioned.
The civil servant was not so enthusiastic about the increment, as one worry expressed was when the payment would begin.
"It is when they begin payment that we will know there is an increment."
For another staff of Voice of Nigeria, who also wanted to remain anonymous, it was better for the government to offer an amount it could shoulder instead of giving people a huge remuneration that it could not actualise.
"The wage bill is already a burden, but we know that the real burden comes from the political class and their cronies.
"So they need to fix up the mess first. Otherwise, any money saved from downsizing will still enter private pockets.
"I am not really looking forward to it," the VON staff said.
One thing the civil servant also highlighted was that the 22,500 Naira was a far cry from what the wage should be, considering the cost of living in Nigeria.
Another civil servant, whose office is under the ministry of information, also expressed disappointment with the proposed 22,500, asking why she should be happy with the proposed raise.
"I'm am raving Mad!!!
"If they can't do 30,000 Naira or at least a 10,00 minimum increment. THEY SHOULD FORGET IT!!!!
"We will kuku stick with our 18,000 Naira like that and CHANGE THEM COME 2019 GENERAL ELECTION... GOD WILLING," the civil servant, who simply identified herself as Foye, said.
According to her, 30,000 Naira was less than $100 per month and "that is annoying".
In the last few years, how burdensome it is for states to shoulder the 18,000 Naira minimum wage has showed, with states owing workers salaries running into years.
Many of the governors had some days ago said they were not against a new National Minimum Wage, but stressed that the problem was in the ability of the states to pay.
This may have informed the decision of the government to add 4,500 Naira to what it used to be.
But workers are kicking against the new rate, with the labour unions warming up to down tools from November 6.
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