Chief Owolabi Salis, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) Lagos State governorship candidate, has urged the Federal Government to look into the demands of the organised labour to avert industrial actions that could jeopardise the nation’s economic growth.
Salis, who made the appeal in Lagos on Monday, said that the country was endowed with resources that government could use to pay the minimum wage.
“Looking at the N18,000 and then the N30,000, N30,000 is 90 dollars a month, I wonder how Nigerians will survive with this amount monthly.
“As far as I know, minimum wage in New York is 15 dollar an hour and if you work 40 hours a week, you are looking at 600 dollars weekly, and 2,400 dollars in a month,” he said.
Salis also urged the state governments to ensure that they consider the request for their workers.
According to him, some states have the capacity to pay the N30,000 minimum wage because of the resources within their control.
He said: “Lagos State has more than enough to pay the minimum wage.
“I did some research, and I was told the state government is not even paying the N18,000.
“I also learnt the state pays a negotiated rate.
“Look at the massive resources in the hands of individuals who are on board, they have so much to themselves.
“Many of the states who claim they cannot pay minimum wage, if you look at the base of the reason, it is just because of corruption.”
Besides, he noted that whatever minimum wage paid in any society should be able to support the basic cost of living.
“Basic cost of living in terms of accommodation, food, health and facilities that the people need.
“I do not know how N18,000 can do all these because what that translates to is for people to engage in corruption.
According to him, one of the major causes of corruption in the country is low minimum wage and the neglect of civil servants.
This, he added, led to a situation whereby some Nigerians come up with schemes to extort their people.
“If you go to civil service organisations, you will see schemes that are being perpetrated.
“This is just because what they are earning is not supporting the basic cost of living,” he said.
He enjoined the government to look into the demands holistically and pay a better minimum wage.
“Even the N30,000 demanded by the NLC is so small, I think it’s about the smallest in the world.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that labour unions say they will commence a nationwide indefinite strike from Nov. 6 if the government does not meet their demands on minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
The unions also rejected the proposal of the Federal Government to raise the minimum wage from N18, 000 to N24, 000.