The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, on Saturday, rejected the organised labour’s demand for a national minimum wage of N494,000 as economically unsustainable.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had demanded a new minimum wage of N494,000 for workers to ease the hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal and other policy initiatives of the current administration.
The labour had during the week rejected the N60,000 proposed by the government as a new minimum wage in the country.
The unions on Friday declared an indefinite strike beginning from Monday following the federal government’s inability to put in place a new minimum wage for the workers at the end of the May 31 deadline.
Idris, according to a statement issued by his media aide, Rabiu Ibrahim, stated this at a media briefing in Abuja.
He warned that the labour’s N494,000 wage demand would destabilise the economy and negatively impact over 200 million Nigerians.
According to him, the proposed minimum wage will result in an annual expenditure of N9.5 trillion which is untenable for the country’s finances.
Idris said: “The Federal Government’s new minimum wage proposal amounts to a 100 percent increase on the existing minimum wage in 2019. Labour, however, wanted N494,000, which would increase by 1,547 percent on the existing wage.
“The sum of N494,000 national minimum wage which Labour is seeking would cumulatively amount to the sum N9.5 trillion bill to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Nigerians need to understand that whereas the Federal Government is desirous of ample remuneration for Nigerian workers, what is most critical is that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not encourage any action that could lead to massive job loss, especially in the private sector who may not be able to pay the wage demanded by the organised labour.”

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