11th January, 2018
N18,000 MINIMUM WAGE RENDERS NIGERIA A HUGE JOKE
The Federal Government (FG) has signaled its intention to review the national minimum wage this year 2018.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) received the news with mixed feelings. Laudable as it is, we believe it is belated.
The average Nigerian worker is deliberately impoverished by those elected by him. He is overworked, underpaid and overtaxed. A worker’s pay cannot take him home. The average Nigerian lives on less than $1 per day. Per capita income is less than $300.
Yet on top of this economically gloomy scenario, prices of goods and services have hit the rooftop. Education, for instance, has gone beyond the reach of children of civil servants. With WAEC registration fee standing at N13,950 with NECO charging N11,400 and JAMB candidates paying about N8,500 (including post-JAMB), the average civil servant is forced to cough out a total of N33,850.00 for a single child. He may have up to four children or more and minimum wage is just N18,000.00. It is quite glaring that civil servants have to cut corners to make ends meet. When will Nigeria wake up from this huge joke?
A country actively fighting corruption should not impoverish its civil service. FG as at today appears to be leading its own civil service into the temptation to steal. The way out of this conundrum is to raise minimum wage significantly from the present N18,000 to N50,000 as requested by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
If it is true that a senator takes home an average of N36,000,000 (thirty-six million naira) monthly while a honourable member of the House of Representatives earns N25,000,000 (twenty-five million naira) as monthly salary, what moral justification do we have to peg minimum wage at N18,000? How can we open our eyes and allow this legislative looting of our commonwealth to continue? This yawning gap and the attendant socio-economic imbalance is mainly responsible for the surge in crime wave. We will like to suggest a drastic cut in lawmakers’ salary and an upward review of the minimum wage as stated earlier.
From this unconfirmed assumption, Nigeria pays its 109 senators N3,924,000,000.00 (three billion, nine hundred and twenty four million naira) monthly. The 360 members of the House of Representatives receive a total monthly salary of N9,000,000,000.00 (nine billion naira). In essence the monthly salary of Nigeria’s lawmakers is, presumably, N12,924,000,000 (twelve billion nine hundred and twenty four million naira). Where are we going?
By raw calculation, the annual salary of Nigeria’s lawmakers is N155,088,000,000 (one hundred and fifty five billion, eighty eight million naira). Half of this humongous amount is enough to employ more than 150,000 Nigerians at a salary of N50,000 only per month. Lawmakers earn N2.2 million in America, N1.3 million in Britain and N305,058 in India. Why are we like this?
This situation explains why 80 million Nigerians live below poverty level. Nigeria is the 26th poorest and the 20th hungriest nation in the world. 2% of Nigerians own 90% of bank deposits while only 1% of the Nigerian population consumes 85% of its resources, leaving the remaining 15% for 99% of the population. While poor Nigerians sleep under the bridge, our capitalist oppressors book whole floors and wings in the most expensive hotels for a whole year! Who did this to Nigeria?
Sacrifices were made by both the president and his vice at the inception of this administration. What is our lawmakers’ input? Why shouldn’t Nigeria’s lawmakers sacrifice half of their salary if it will help reduce the army of unemployed youths on our streets? How many of our lawmakers have come out boldly to declare their assets? Is N12.5 million naira not enough for a member of the House of Representatives as monthly salary? Is N18 million too small as monthly salary for a senator? How can a lawmaker earn seventy times the salary of a university professor? What value are we giving education and perseverance?
We propose that Nigeria’s minimum wage should be raised to N50,000. We also suggest payment of only half of the salary of our present lawmakers (whatever that is). The deducted half should be used by FG to pay WAEC, NECO, JAMB and Post-JAMB fees of all Nigerian students as a relief for the impoverished tax-payers. FG should be prepared to subsidise it if the amount deducted from lawmakers’ salary is not sufficient.
As we round up, MURIC assures Nigerians that we feel the pain of the downtrodden. We know the devastating frustration of parents whose children have to drop out of school simply because they cannot afford the fees. We are middle-roaders and socio-intellectual jihadists seeking freedom for the oppressed, food for the hungry, healing for the sick, clothing apparels for the naked and shelter for the homeless regardless of their religious or ethnic background.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)