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Living Wage Should Be ₦615,000, FG’s 35% Pay Increase Mischievous- Ajaero

The salary adjustments encompass various structures, including CONPSS, CONRAISS, CONPOSS, CONPASS, CONICCS, and CONAFSS.

By Johnson Atoukudu

Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has criticized the Federal Government’s announcement of a salary increase ranging from 25% to 35% for civil servants, labeling it as deceitful.

Ajaero voiced his concerns during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily program on Wednesday, coinciding with the global celebration of Workers’ Day in 2024. Emmanuel Njoku, a spokesperson for the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), had disclosed the implementation of the increment starting from January 1st, 2024.

The salary adjustments encompass various structures, including CONPSS, CONRAISS, CONPOSS, CONPASS, CONICCS, and CONAFSS.

Ajaero said the last minimum wage of N30,000 expired on April 18 and “we should be in the regime of new minimum wage as of today. Discussions were supposed to have been concluded.”

“The Federal Government through the National Assembly legislated on it. But we saw that the discussion entered voice mail because the Federal Government refused to reconvene the meeting that was adjourned.

“I think the announcement now appears mischievous because there is no wage increase that government is announcing. For them to announce it now, it is an issue that we are worried about at the NLC and even at the TUC.”

In January, the Federal Government established a 37-member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage tasked with proposing a new minimum wage for Nigeria. However, the government has yet to act on the committee’s recommendations. It’s noted that the current minimum wage of N30,000 is insufficient to sustain the livelihoods of average Nigerian workers.

Moreover, there are concerns that not all governors are adhering to the current wage award, which expired in April. This situation arises despite the Minimum Wage Act of 2019, signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari, stipulating a review every five years to align with the evolving economic needs of workers.

Ajaero further said the Organised Labour has agreed on N615,000 as the living wage for civil servants.

He said, “Living wage is such that will, at least keep you alive. It is not a wage that will make you poor and poorer. It is not a wage that will make you borrow to go to work. It is not a wage that will lead you to be in the hospital everyday because of malnutrition. For that living wage, we have tried to look at N615,000.

“Let me give you a breakdown of how we arrived at that figure. We have housing and accommodation of N40,000. We asked for electricity of N20,000 — of course that was before the current tariff increase. Nobody can spend this amount currently. We have utility that is about N10,000. We looked at kerosene and gas that is about N25,000 to N35,000.

“We looked at food for a family of six, that is about N9,000 in a day. For 30 days, that is about N270,000. Look at medical, N50,000 provided there will be no surgery or whatever.

“For clothing, we looked at N20,000. For education, N50,000. I don’t know for those who tried to put their children in private school, they will not be able to cope with this amount. We also have sanitation of N10,000.

“I think where we have another bulk of the money is transportation. This is because the workers stay in the fringes and because of the cost of PMS, that amounted to N110,000.

“That brought the whole living wage to N615,000 and I want anyone to subject this to further investigation and find out whether there will be any savings when you pay somebody on this rate.

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