The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki said the country can no longer continue with the present N18,000 minimum wage for workers with the high exchange rate and inflation in the country.
The Senate president stated this on Thursday, while addressing the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) members, who protested to the National Assembly for Good governance and Support for the fight against corruption.
He said with the high exchange rate and inflation in the country, the government is left with no option than to adjust the current minimum wage to enable the workers to cope with the present harsh economic realities.
Bukola Saraki said:
“The challenges are enormous. I commend your action. Part of the contributions you are making is the sacrifice you have made today. This is your second time here and it is because of the respect I have for you that made me come out myself to see you since I am around.
“As many times you have been coming, I have come out to receive you because I agree with you that we have a problem in the land. Yes, we have a problem and for that, we have to make our country better.
‘The challenges are enormous and already, I believe that there is hunger in the land. Today, as you all have observed, the exchange rate is high, the inflation is high, the price of food have gone up. The only thing that has remained low is the salaries. We cannot continue like that.
“What we need to do is to sit down and work out how we are going to make the necessary adjustments because we go to the same market and it is no fault of yours that things are the way they are.”
The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo also applauded the leadership of the NLC and the TUC, for joining the ongoing anti-corruption campaign in the country.
Commending the leaders, Osinbajo also called on all Nigerians to continue to support the fight against corrupt practices in the society, adding that the government would continue to ensure due process and rule of law in the fight against corruption.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC alongside Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday held a protest demanding better governance from the Buhari led administration.
The march which featured hundreds of union members carrying banners and placards with various inscriptions also called for an increase in the minimum wage of Nigerians from 18,000 to 52,000.
Workers have complained the current minimum wage of N18,000 ($60) is way below a living wage and cannot meet basic needs of worker.
Organised labour has asked the government to at least increase it to N52,000 but the Federal Government has not acceded to labour’s request amidst a biting recession that has crippled Africa’s largest economy.
Meanwhile, the South African government said it will introduce a national minimum wage of 3,500 rands ($261) per month in 2018, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday. The announcement follows protracted negotiations between the government and labour unions.