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Nigerian textile workers body presses for minimum wage
Jun '11
The National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has asked the Governors of various States in the country to ensure immediate implementation of the minimum wage of Nigerian Nairas 18,000.

Comrade Issa Aremu, the General Secretary of NUTGTWN and a Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has advised the Federal Government, Governors, and private employers to pay the new wage to avoid closure of textile and garment industries in the country.

The labour leader was reacting to a statement made by the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who said that in the absence of a new revenue allocation formula, the State Governors will not be able to instantly implement the NGN 18,000 minimum wage.

Mr. Aremu explained that the new minimum wage of NGN 18,000 was agreed to by stakeholders based on several factors including the present revenue allocation formula, the ability of both the public and private employers to pay, the capacity of the economy, as well as modest working conditions of a minimum wage earner.

Some of the major stakeholders who negotiated the new minimum wage included the Federal Capital Territory Administration, all State Governments, representatives of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Organized Private Sector (OPS), he said.

He further elaborated that expert opinion was sought from various key professional organizations and institutions including the National Planning Commission; Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER); Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); CBN; Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME); and National Productivity Centre (NPC).

The Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage negotiated and considered the NGN 52,000 demand put up by the Nigeria Labour Congress, and decided on the upward revision of national minimum wage to NG 18,000 from the earlier minimum wage of NGN 5,000 of State and NGN 7,500 of Federal Government employees, he added.

Mr. Aremu said it would be better that all the three stakeholders – the State Governors, private employers, and Federal Government – implement the new minimum wage at an early date to avoid boycott by workers and the accompanying burden of arrears.

Stressing on the two years long consultation process carried out by the all-inclusive committee to arrive at a minimum wage, the NUTGTWN leader said that the present NGN 18,000 is based on the current revenue allocation formula.

Hence, a new minimum wage rate higher than the present NGN 18,000 has to be worked out as and when there is a new revenue allocation formula. The present revenue allocation formula is dependent on various social and macro-economic factors such as costof living, oil revenue, levels of poverty, labour productivity, and performance of the non-oil sector, he added.

In 1982, workers in Nigeria earned around US$ 200 per month and the presently agreed NGN 18,000 is less than that amount, according to Mr. Aremu. He stated, “National minimum wage is the lowest legally permissible level of wage payable by the employers. It is a national economic and social heritage which should not be discontinued.”

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