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Private sector can’t meet NLC N500,000 minimum wage demand in 2024 – NECA 

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) says the private sector can’t meet the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)’s N500,000  minimum wage demand this year or any time soon in light of Nigeria’s economic problems.  

The group said the private sector remains committed to the previously proposed N57,000 at the Tripartite Committee meeting on the National Minimum Wage. 

In a statement on Sunday, NECA’s Director-General, Mr. Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, said the private sector’s proposal represents a 90% increase in the national minimum wage. 

Oyerinde emphasized that the private sector’s commitment has remained despite ongoing economic challenges, including rising interest rates, astronomical logistics costs, increasing energy tariffs, and multiple taxes, levies, and fees. 

He said, “With organised businesses declaring over one trillion naira in combined losses and many shutting down their businesses for different reasons, while others are relocating to other climes, the ability to pay the prevailing N30,000 was already compromised.” 

“It will be practically impossible to guarantee enterprise sustainability and job security with the current demands of organised labour,’’ 

The Director-General, however, affirmed that NECA would continue to support workers’ welfare and job protection, emphasizing that these can only be ensured through the survival of enterprises. 

In the context of the national minimum wage negotiations, he urged the tripartite committee to prioritize job creation and job security. 

Oyerinde highlighted the urgent need for this focus due to the alarming and rising unemployment rate in the country. 

He stressed that the committee should redirect its efforts toward job protection, enhancing the private sector’s capacity to generate more employment, and ensuring sustainability and the ability to pay. 

Additionally, he emphasized that productivity should be a key driver for higher wages. 

In his words, “According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3 per cent in Q3 2023 from 15.5 per cent in Q2 2023. In specific terms, the unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 per cent. 

“With these figures, more efforts should be concentrated on keeping more people in employment, while the government continues to implement its planned interventions in transportation, food security and general macro-economic stability,” 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) previously walked out of a negotiation meeting after the Federal Government proposed a new minimum wage of N48,000 for workers, while organized labour demanded N615,000. 

Labour representatives also accused the government of failing to provide substantiated data to support their offer, which further worsened the situation. 

-Labor had demanded N615,000 minimum wage but later reduced it to N500,000 after a meeting of the tripartite committee. 

-Labor had demanded N615,000 minimum wage but later reduced it to N500,000 after a meeting of the tripartite committee. 

However, negotiations between the Federal Government and organised labour on the new minimum wage is still ongoing with the government upping its offer to around N57,000.