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Private Sector Backs FG On N60,000 As New Minimum Wage



Private Sector Backs FG On N60,000 As New Minimum Wage

The President of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Ajayi Kadri, has confirmed that the organized private sector concurred with the federal government that the new minimum wage should be N60,000.

Ajayi disclosed this information during an interview with Channels TV on Saturday in Abuja.

According to the MAN president, the ongoing negotiations between the government and the private sector with labour are not about a living wage, but a minimum wage—the lowest amount that can be paid to any worker in the country.

Kadri said the economic environment has been challenging for both labour and private businesses, making it nearly impossible for them to pay the wage the labour union is demanding.

“To start with, this is a very difficult time for anyone to negotiate minimum wage. From the perspective of government, labour and organized private sector, we operate in an environment where there is general acceptance of the fact that the macroeconomics are not right, even the global economy is experiencing a lot of shakeups and the aftermath of government necessary reforms.

“From the beginning of the negotiations of the minimum wage, it’s evident to the tripartite— that is the government, labour, and organized private sector— that we are going to operate in a difficult terrain.

“Incidentally, the organized private sector and government have offered N60,000 as the minimum wage and I think it is very important for us to understand that what we are talking about is the minimum wage.

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“That is what some people have called the walk-in wage. That is the amount we will pay the least workers in the country. It is the minimum wage we are negotiating, not a living wage,” Ajayi said.

Speaking further, Ajayi noted that there are massive constraints on the part of both the government and the private sector to fulfill the proposed N419,000 living wage labour request.

He said the private sector, for instance, is faced with economic challenges and inflation, making it impossible to pay such amount.

He also explained that this is not the most appropriate time for organized labour to negotiate a new minimum wage, but to work together with other invested stakeholders to build the economy together.

“All of us in the tripartite— the government, the labour, and the private sector — we all knew that we are operating in a very difficult environment. The government itself realized that it had limited capacity to pay. The private sector is constrained by microeconomic, infrastructure and security challenges. So, we are also constrained to pay.

“Labour on its part, is under intense pressure from its constituencies to ask for a higher wage because inflation has hit the roof and the operating environment is tough.

“Throughout the negotiation process, we made it known that this is not the best time to negotiate minimum wage. This is the time for us to agree, the crew behind the government, and grow the economy in such that we will bake a bigger cake and then we’ll be able to share,” the MAN president added.


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