The high inflation rate and worsening economic conditions in Nigeria resulted in labor unions protesting against the lack of minimum wage review in the country. Therefore, for the past two years, the workers, along with the NLC National Labor Congress, have pressured the current government. Here is everything you need to know about the minimum wage in Nigeria in 2023, so dive right in to know more.
Minimum Wage in Nigeria 2018-2022
The minimum wage in Nigeria reached around ₦30,000 naira in 2020 and remained this until recently in 2023. On average, the monthly cost of living for Nigerians is around ₦43.2,000, which is not completely in sync with the living cost. The amount was originally announced in the NGN law after the 2019 NLC protests against the high inflation rate.
Living Cost and Labor Dependency
During this period, the living cost for an individual based in Nigeria was ₦43,200 whereas for families, it was approximated to go up to ₦137,600. In 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics estimated that the country had no changes in the average minimum wage for almost two preceding years, and labor dependency stood at around 2.6% for these years. This value is representative of the dependents who are part of the labor force as well as dependents who are unemployed at the moment.
In comparison, if we talk about the working structure in executive management, the highest average annual salary accounts for around $96,000 US, which is significantly higher than that in civil services. In 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics estimated that the collective weekly workload exceeded 2.6 billion hours, which was less than 2.5 billion hours in the previous year.
2019 Government Approves the Minimum Wage Adjustments
Earlier in 2019, Leaders of the Labor Congress and government representatives came to a conclusion for salary adjustments of up to ₦30,000, as stated by the Minister of Labor Fetus Keyamo. However, a day before the decision, both leaders had their reservations about the twelve salaries structure across civil services. It was decided that workers from grades 7 to 17 would get an increase of 14-23% in salaries along with special increments on salary days.
Minimum Wage 2023: Demand and Approval
The start of 2023 came up with fuel subsidies applied by the government, resulting in a hike in food prices, transport, and ever-increasing inflation. Consequently, the labor congress, along with other labor unions, announced a thirty-day ultimatum for the government to make a decision to undo the impacts of economic hardship. Following is a list of events you need to know regarding the minimum wage in Nigeria.
Minimum Wage Review
The economic hardships are increasing in Nigeria, with the cost of living increasing day by day. In 2019, the minimum wage was increased by the government to ₦30,000. However, it has not managed to satisfy the workers and NLC demands for two years from now in 2022. Recently, the situation worsened as a result of the removal of fuel subsidies and a hike in food prices, resulting in workers not being able to manage their finances and routine needs.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, as of 2023, there are around 70 million people in the labor force, all of whom are working for extremely poor wages, according to the World Poverty Clock. As per NBS, the inflation rate from 2019 to 2022 rose to 22.79 percent, which further increased to 22.25 percent in 2023, resulting in massive chaos among workers. Today, the public sector has a minimum wage of around ₦30,000, which was ₦18 in the 1970s, implying that the cost of living increased significantly over the years.
Workers Demand Fair Compensation
2022 marks the highest inflation rate in Nigeria, resulting in the workers urging the Federal Government to provide them with a higher minimum wage and fair compensation, as it originally planned to do. According to a popular news source, PUNCH, workers said that the high monetary pressure in the market is taking a serious toll on their day-to-day lives, eroding their finances and purchasing power.
As per the story, a civil servant currently working in the country stated that the prices of food and travel have become unbearable for a normal person to handle. He claimed that the amount he used to pay for transport on a weekly basis a month ago has tripled. Earlier, the Lagos State Government had promised to review the minimum wage in the country and see whether it can be increased for workers.
NLC Labor Wage Demands
The Nigerian Labor Congress Niger State Chapter Chairman Idris Lafene pressured the government to pay around ₦200,000 if the state passes the law for minimum wage. He was originally noted stating that the government needs to obey the law, and it will be compelled to, given the situation aggravates for the workers. Mr. Ibram Bologi, the Chief Press secretary to the Niger State Governor, stated that the new commissioner of information would comment on this issue regarding the closed-door NLC-Niger meeting.
The Updated Minimum Wage in Nigeria 2023 Approved
In 2023, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, on the 63rd independence anniversary of the country, announced a temporary increase in the minimum wage for low-paid workers. The announcement was made two days before the NLC, along with other labor unions, planned protests against the inflation and rising cost of living. According to the federal government, the workers will be given a provisional wage award, which will act as an increment.
Therefore, as per the announcement, the low-paid workers will be given an additional ₦25,000 on their salaries for the next six months to undo the impact of inflation on their daily lives. That said, the change in government will have a significant impact on the workers’ already worsened condition, and the move is only a way to attract voters, as per many. Whatever the reason, the NLC claims that the wage announcement is less than what was hoped for, and it falls short of around ₦198,794 demanded earlier by the workers.
As a result of this decision, there has been a mixed reaction from the public. Some people claim that the ₦25,000 will go a long way, while others believe that at least they should have around ₦38,000 to survive as a big family. However, during his independence speech, President Bola made no remarks regarding the union protests carried out by laborers across the state.
If we break it down further for this, the decision means that the lowest-paid workers in Nigeria will earn anywhere around ₦55,000 from the original ₦30,000 naira. In addition, poor households or big families will also get ₦25,000 additional naira to undo the taxes on diesel; however, this is seen skeptically by the NLC party members. The government has also announced transit buses for the masses as an alternative to natural gas.
What is the minimum wage in Nigeria in 2023?
The minimum wage for lowest-paid workers in Nigeria as of 2023 is around ₦55,000 to ₦65,000 per month. This is a result of the recent announcement of the addition of ₦25,000 to the minimum wage earlier in September 2023. Do consider that this announcement will be valid and applied after October 1, 2023.
What are the average working hours for workers in Nigeria?
The minimum wage in Nigeria depends on the working hours. On average, the workers in the country are paid on a monthly basis and include a typical of eight hours daily and five days a week.
What is the minimum wage of a country?
The minimum wage of a country is the average amount of money earned by the lowest-paid workers. Nigeria has a government-mandated minimum wage system, which means no one can get paid less than this rate. Hence, employers who fail to pay this amount will be subjected to punishment according to Nigerian law.
Has the government approved the adjustments in minimum wage in Nigeria?
Yes, in October, the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, on the 69th anniversary of the country’s independence, announced an increase of ₦25,000 in the current salaries of the low-paid workers. Do consider that it is a temporary relief and will be effective for the next six months.
In conclusion, the minimum wage in Nigeria can be defined as the average wage earned by workers in the country, and anyone paying their employees less than the amount will be subjected to legal punishment. However, the worsening economic condition led to the labor unions protesting against the government. I hope this guide has been successful in taking you on a tour of everything that happened in regard to the minimum wage adjustments in Nigeria.