July 21, 2024

Ajayi Kadri, the Director-General of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), has announced that the organized private sector has accepted the Federal Government’s proposal for a new minimum wage of N60,000.

Kadri made this revelation during an interview with Channels TV in Abuja on Saturday.

Kadri emphasized that current discussions between the government, private sector, and labor unions are focused on establishing a minimum wage, which is the legally mandated base pay for workers, rather than a living wage, which reflects the minimum income necessary to meet basic living standards.

“It’s a very challenging time for anyone to negotiate minimum wage. Both the government and the private sector recognize the unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and global economic turbulence,” Kadri noted, highlighting the economic difficulties that both labor and businesses are facing.

Despite these challenges, the government and private sector have proposed a minimum wage of N60,000. This figure represents the base pay for the lowest-paid workers in the country. Kadri clarified that meeting the proposed N419,000 living wage demand is currently beyond the capacity of both the government and the private sector due to severe economic constraints and inflation.

Kadri suggested that the focus should instead be on economic recovery. “All parties—the government, labor, and the private sector—are aware of the difficult economic environment we are operating in. The government’s capacity to pay is limited, and the private sector is burdened by microeconomic, infrastructure, and security challenges,” he explained. Kadri added that labor unions are under immense pressure to secure higher wages due to skyrocketing inflation and a challenging operating environment.

He stressed that this is not an ideal time for negotiating a new minimum wage and that efforts should be directed towards strengthening the economy to facilitate a more substantial wage increase in the future.

Kadri also appealed to labor unions to reconsider their decision to embark on a nationwide strike, warning that such actions could further harm the already fragile economy. He expressed disappointment over labor’s rejection of the N60,000 offer and their decision to strike. “We cannot afford to cripple the economy. President Tinubu has acknowledged the tough times ahead and urged everyone to tighten their belts for economic recovery,” Kadri said during the Channels Television’s Sunrise program.

Kadri called for responsible government spending and efficient governance to address the economic challenges and urged labor unions to stay engaged in the negotiation process rather than resorting to strikes, which he believes will not solve the underlying issues.

On Friday, organized labor declared an indefinite nationwide strike in response to the Federal Government’s refusal to increase the proposed minimum wage from N60,000. They stated that the strike follows the expiration of a deadline for the government to finalize all minimum wage negotiations by the end of May.

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