Legal Nigeria

Reps seek payment of living wages for Nigerian workers


The House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 6, advocated for the payment of living wages to Nigerian workers at the rate that would be commensurate with current economic realities across the world.

The House directed its relevant committees of Labour and Employment, Finance and National Planning to work out modalities for the payment of living wages to Nigerian workers at rates that match economic realities.

In its resolution following a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House, Kingsley China, and 37 other members, the House resolved to transmit its resolution to the Senate for concurrence.

The federal government recently set up a tripartite committee made up of persons drawn from the executive, organised Labour, state government and the organised private sector to negotiate the minimum wage.

Moving the motion on behalf of the sponsors, Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP, Kano) said the rising rate of inflation in the country, which has made it difficult for average Nigerians to afford basic needs such as food, water, housing, education, healthcare, transportation, and clothing.

He explained that the rising inflationary rate in the country has also hurt the cost of living, with the cost of food, accommodation, education, and transportation skyrocketing.

Madaki said Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 23 of the Declaration states that “every individual who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration to ensure such a person and his or her family exist in dignity.”

According to him, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have a 2030 achievement deadline, and eight out of the 17 SDGs of the United Nations require the payment of a living wage to be achieved.

He said further that when the fuel subsidy was removed in May 2023, the federal government offered palliatives to cushion its effects. However, the ameliorative effect of this measure has been overtaken by the continued rise in the cost of goods and services.

He said that the minimum wage (in Nigeria) was increased by the president recently, but the purchasing power is low owing to the continued rise in the cost of living in the country and the fall of the Naira.

He stressed that Trade Economics in 2018 reported the living wage for an individual Nigerian and a Nigerian family to be N43,200 per month and N137,600 per month, respectively. This is a pre-subsidy removal report.

He maintained that presently, no labourer can live in Nigeria with a wage of less than one hundred thousand Naira (N 100,000.00), while expression concerned that according to the World Bank report, low purchasing power in the country occasioned by a high inflationary rate, has led to an increase in poverty across the country.

He recalled that the Speaker of the House of Representatives had on September 29, 2023, at the State Banquet in Abuja, opined that it is only a living wage that can ameliorate the insecurity and corruption pervading the country.

He said unless very immediate and pragmatic steps are taken to improve the income of Nigerians, more Nigerians will go down the economic line, with the poor population increasing. This, in effect, would lead to desperation and a loss of faith in the government.

Source:The nation