The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has reiterated the need to follow due process and ensure that all discussions around the adjustment of the minimum wage are based on a comprehensive understanding of the facts and implications and that the new wage is reflective of the nation’s economic realities.
The National Labour Congress (NLC), had issued a stark warning, raising the possibility of demanding a staggering N1 million minimum wage per month if the nation’s economic woes persist.
In an interview with Arise TV on Sunday, the NLC president Joe Ajaero painted a grim picture of escalating inflation and a depreciating Naira, emphasising their direct impact on wage demands. He stressed that previous wage negotiations were anchored on similar economic indicators, and the current situation necessitates a significant revision.
Highlighting the gravity of the situation, Ajaero drew attention to the stark difference between past negotiations and the present reality. Essential commodities like rice, he pointed out, now cost a staggering N60,000 to N70,000 per bag, placing them beyond the reach of many workers. This dire situation, he warned, could trigger widespread discontent and potential strike actions if left unaddressed.
With the shadow of industrial action looming large, the NLC and its partner, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), are set to meet with federal government representatives today to seek solutions following a 14-day strike ultimatum. The unions accuse the government of reneging on past agreements, particularly regarding temporary wage increases for workers. Ajaero specifically cited the incomplete implementation of the N35,000 temporary wage increase for federal workers, introduced in October 2023.
Further deepening the unions’ concerns are the alleged non-disbursement of N25,000 palliatives to workers and the lack of evidence of fertiliser distribution to farmers. Against this backdrop, the current minimum wage of N30,000 appears woefully inadequate, prompting the NLC’s unprecedented wage demands.
However, reacting to Ajaero’s interview, the national president of the NACCIMA, Dele Kelvin Oye, in a letter, yesterday, noted that it would be premature and unfair for NACCIMA or any other member of the recently constituted 37-man Committee to join issues with the NLC president or engage in public debates on the matter without first having the opportunity to review the facts and basis of the proposed N1 million minimum wage.
According to Oye, “I am writing in response to the recent interview given by the President of the National Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Joe Ajaero, on Arise Television, regarding the proposed new monthly minimum wage of N1 million.
“First and foremost, NACCIMA acknowledges the critical role played by the Nigerian workforce in driving the economic growth and development of our nation. It is the hard work and dedication of our workers that sustain the businesses and industries that NACCIMA proudly represents. We also recognise that the current economic climate, characterised by high inflation and a depreciating Naira, exerts significant pressure on the standard of living of workers and their families.
“However, we must emphasise the importance of following due process and ensuring that all discussions around the adjustment of the minimum wage are based on a comprehensive understanding of the facts and implications.
“As such, it would be premature and unfair for NACCIMA or any other member of the recently constituted 37-man Committee to join issues with the NLC President or engage in public debates on the matter without first having the opportunity to review the facts and basis of the proposed N1 million minimum wage.”
The NACCIMA boss charged, “We encourage all parties involved to approach this issue with a spirit of cooperation and constructive dialogue. NACCIMA is committed to working alongside the NLC, the federal government, and other stakeholders to ensure that a fair and sustainable wage structure is established, one that reflects the economic realities of our nation and the welfare of our workforce.”
He further noted, “In anticipation of the committee’s discussions, NACCIMA appeals to all parties to exercise patience and to prepare for negotiations that are founded on empirical data, economic analysis, and the shared goal of economic stability and prosperity for all Nigerians.
“We stand in solidarity with the Nigerian workers in their pursuit of fair compensation. At the same time, we must balance this with the capacity of employers and the broader economic implications of wage adjustments. NACCIMA looks forward to contributing to a dialogue that will ultimately lead to a balanced and equitable resolution that safeguards the interests of workers, businesses, and the national economy.”
“We urge all parties to reserve any judgment or action until the committee has had the opportunity to deliberate thoroughly. Rest assured, NACCIMA is devoted to the advancement of a robust economy and the betterment of our society through the promotion of responsible business practices and sustainable economic policies,” added.