Dr. Joe Abah is the former Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms.

But his influence now goes beyond that appendage. He has become one of Nigeria’s top 10 influencers on Twitter, with strong opinions on topical issues.

So, on Thursday, he waded into the strike embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress, and here is what he thinks of the labour union’s demand of 56,000-naira as minimum wage.

He believes the current minimum wage of 18,000 naira is unrealistic, but the government cannot afford the amount the labour union is asking for.

He said in his tweet: “Minimum wage of 18,000 naira is unrealistic. Some states can’t even pay it. We can’t afford 56,000 naira if everything else remains constant: cost of governance, 1100 MDAs, NASS salaries & allowances, security votes, etc.

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“We can afford it if we can take tough decisions. Can we? The private sector cannot afford a minimum wage of 56,000, naira with multiple taxation, no light (the biggest expense for most companies is on diesel), poor transportation infrastructure, etc. Both the public & private sectors can’t afford it. Let’s stop lying to our people, please.”

Continuing, he said: “Our Gross National Income is insufficient to support 200 million people with a population growth rate of 3%. Hard to believe, but, on a per capita basis, we are a poor country!

“Even if there was ZERO CORRUPTION in Nigeria, we won’t still have enough money to have a decent life. Get it?”

And then, he suggests that to be able to pay decent wages, Nigeria needs a tripartite approach. These include: 1. Drastically cut cost of governance, 2. Drastically cut waste, 3. Drastically increase productivity.

“Anybody that tells you our current economy & governance systems can support a minimum wage of 56,000 naira is lying,” he tweeted.

He also added that “the govt was playing politics when it started all the talk of a minimum wage review, knowing it couldn’t afford it”, arguing that, “Labour should be more sophisticated and use the demand for an increase in minimum wage as a lever to demand for restructuring”.

Check out the tweet here: