Minimum Wage, Peanut to Lawmakers’ Allowances

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Without strong watch institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built. And if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain – Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Prize laureate.These were her words in 2001 where the activist wrote a section called “the plague of corruption: overcoming impunity and injustice.

We live in a country where there is impunity (that is the exemption from punishment) and injustice. And this injustice has been accepted as a way of life because of the immunity of the perpetrators.

The cost of living has become a key issue for many in Africa’s most populous nation (Nigeria), where many workers feed from hand to mouth to sustain themselves and families.

Unions went on strike last year over the minimum wage, initially demanding a rise to N50,000 a month, which the Federal Government on April 18, 2019 implemented the law though has not taken effect since then.

The question becomes: Do the civil servants and unions have every right to be angry with the government and lawmakers on the ongoing approval of the N30,000 minimum wage that has lingered for months?

This bill which has lingered on the desk of the National Assembly since 2018 when the bill was proposed and the bill was passed on March 19, 2019. This has gotten civil servants restless comparing the minimum wage as peanuts to the jumbo salaries and allowances the lawmakers take home at the end of the month.

Analyzing facts, yes the annual take home pay of a member of the House of Representatives which is the lower chamber of the National Assembly stands at N136.68m, at a monthly take home of N11.39 million. In the same vein, in the upper legislative chamber a Senator’s take home pay is N182,060,000 per annum at the rate of N15,171,666.66 million a month.

The federal government having recently increased the country’s minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 even though it has yet to be implemented and when it eventually takes effect, the emolument of a senator would be 505.72 times the minimum wage.

This implies that a senators monthly take home can pay the salaries of 506 workers earning the new minimum wage while that of a house of representative can pay that if 380 workers.

These, in total, brings to the analysis that the monthly salaries of the 109 senators would pay the salaries of 55,154 civil servants at N30,000 per month, while the salaries of 360 members of the House of Representatives would pay the salaries of 136,800 civil servants .

Wow this realization is huge after the analysis. The law makers take home the salaries of 191,954 civil servants monthly and implementing peanut of a minimum wage when compared to their jumbo salaries, has been a case study on their desk for months now.

What a fair country we live!

With the economic state of the country how can any one survive monthly on the present N18,000 minimum wage of workers? Let’s not forget these workers also have families to carter for… when you talk about their children in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, talk of feeding, shelter, clothing and the medical fees of their families.

Meanwhile these law makers go home monthly with jumbo salaries and allowances, who send their children abroad for study and keep embezzling government funds for their personal interest while civil servants who also work tirelessly as citizens of same country go home with peanuts at the end of the day.

What a fair country we live!

Have we also considered the negative effect of poor payments to workers in the country? This in turn reduces the productivity of workers to the economic growth of the country as no worker work earnestly without a promising pay for his labour.

In addition, it encourages social vices as there has been higher record of social vices in the country, which includes stealing, arm robbery, kidnapping, rituals, fraud and the ongoing yahoo yahoo and a lot more as some sort of other means of survival.

More to that, it is pertinent to note that due to the poor salaries most workers receive, it is one of the reasons among others that bring to about high level of illiteracy in the country as parents who are civil servants can barely afford the school fees of one child talk more of 5 to 6 children.

Let’s not forget that the high cost of medical treatment in the country has led to the untimely death of many, as many cannot afford it from their income. If N18,000 has been the pay how does a civil servant who has a family with parents too who are old and require constant medical attention survive in the country?

We are in a democratic society where the interests of everybody should be considered, so the issue of the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage should be treated with urgency and not with procrastination. Even if the government could not meet up with the union’s initial minimum wage proposal of N50,000, going ahead with the implementation and effectuation of the N30,000 should take immediate effect.

In addition a country that does not carry the collective interest of all its citizens won’t function properly. If workers are happy with their pay, it will encourage productivity to the different economic sector where they contribute in the country.

If the country could afford the jumbo salaries of lawmakers and other politicians, they can also afford the new minimum wage for workers. Therefore there is no reason why the law claimed to have been put in place by the president, Mohammadu Buhari since April 18, should not have taken effect.

I therefore implore the press not to relent on matters that require speaking up for the good of the country. Also other arms of government should serve as checkmates to lawmakers in order to reduce unnecessary allowances given to them.

Finally, for a country to function properly and with visible development, it is achieved with the collective responsibility of all its citizens, young and old, rich or poor, the rulers and the ruled therefore all hands should be on deck.

However civil servants and workers are being urged not to depend wholly on their salaries for end meet but to also open their minds to business and entrepreneurship as it is difficult to survive in the country with their salaries that are not enough to carter for personal needs talk more of taking care of family.

In conclusion, as we hope and pray for a better Nigeria, let’s work together in unity with each other’s interest in mind, that way we don’t become selfish as we are meant to be brother’s keepers.Long live Nigeria!

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