N40,000 minimum wage: Why Edo under Governor Obaseki is most worker-friendly state in Nigeria

N40,000 minimum wage: Why Edo under Governor Obaseki is most worker-friendly state in Nigeria

By Oboh Sylvester 

The thoughtful increase in substantial percentage and commencement of payment of the new Minimum Wage from N30,000 to N40,000 in May 2022 by Edo State Government, is evidently a humane testament of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s genuine concern for workers’ quandary in the Nigeria system.

In the same vein, Governor Godwin Obaseki also judiciously approved the harmonisation of Pensioners’ take home, to cushion their pain and lack in the midst of current economic free fall across the country. This harmonisation, obviously led to the recent verification of all the pensioners in the State properly tagged: “I am Alive.”
All these put together, is an eloquent expression of the Governor’s desire, not only to incentivise workers against the spike of inflation, unregulated economy as well as the prevailing harsh standard of living in the country, but also a manifestation of his verifiable understanding of the possibilities of inherent genuine principles of affirmative Federalism in our system.

In an ideal situation for instance, the considerate Minimum wage, such as the newly implemented increase in Edo and the gesture towards the pensioners for example, both have the obvious consequent of not only impacting direct motivational factor on workers; whether active, retired or potential employees; but should also affect immediately, economic viability, standard of living and most importantly, less mobility of qualified and efficient workers in the State civil and public service.

In other words, Minimum wage, depending on the prevailing inflationary trend, has the potential value to affect productivity, income inequality, economic growth, self-improvement and employee retention.

Although not precisely justifiable, the State labour Union for example, with obvious understanding of the complex predicament of the current Nigeria system, could not legitimately or morally demand for the inevitable increase, due to the very fact that there is a prevailing prescribed National Minimum Wage, which many states are still negotiating and others very belligerent to implement.

It is therefore imperative to generally appreciate the patience and understanding of labour in this regard, as well as the general cohesive policy of Edo State Government being collectively harnessed for a better and harmonious Edo State Civil Service.

To this end therefore, it is important to appreciate, commend and give Governor Godwin Obaseki enormous kudos for his thought-visibility in the increase of the new Minimum Wage in Edo State.

Governor Obaseki, without doubt, equally deserves legendary gratitude for his vision and focus, not only expressed so far in the improvement of infrastructure in the State, but also as it affects the gratified government personnel who are sincerely excited by the gesture. This is particularly so, in the sense that the recent increase of the minimum wage from N30,000.00 to N40,000.00 in the State, was solely prompted by the Governor, processed and effected as a form of economic empathy, without any pressure or coercion from any stakeholder.

This is particularly reassuring in the fact that Edo State Government, under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki, in spite of the limited and scarce revenue resources, is manifestly capable of engaging ingenuous positive strategies as could be necessitated by policy preferences, fiscal demands and excellent discretion in governance.
The speed and promptness with which the minimum wage increase was processed and implemented, visibly expressed the genuine heartfelt of Edo State Government for its workforce, who on the long run, are persistently being pressed by the repressive Nigeria political and economic nuances.

Specifically, the basic essence of minimum wage for workers and labour is to be able to provide sufficient food, shelter and other basic necessities for self and family. Of all these basic and necessary securities, research has shown that government can hardly and sufficiently regulate these comfort or provide them in abundance for its workforce and its people through wage alone.

This is largely so, due to pervading believe that government has no business in the production of consumable goods and services. Instead, they are tend to perpetually concerned themselves with the need to providing enabling environment through policies. Ironically, these enabling environments have continued to be subjugated by some private individuals usually called small, medium or large scale investors.

Going by this thought process, it will absolutely be very difficult for any government, whether at the local, state or federal level, to control, regulate service providers, sanctions defaulters or even fix the prices of goods and services that could be commensurate with any minimum wage. In other words, Government cannot adequately and successfully fix and regulate the price of goods and services they do not produce, especially with the absent of strong regulating institutions in the country.

This ambivalent scenario would at all times, leave the wage earner and even the government at the mercy of market forces, whose managers, even under normal circumstances, are only concerned with immediate and overkill profit for their capital and legitimate investments.

This conundrum therefore, will certainly continue to reverberate as a result of the ever dwindling value of the Nigeria currency – the Naira, imperfect values and reactionary policies and lack of sustainable government involvement in production processes. It will as well continue to manifest, due to the greed and insincerity on the part of private exploitative individuals, just as the collective shylocks system appear to be very visible in every department of our social lives without any feelings or concerned for the wage earners or the collective wellbeing.
In this regard, it is very unfortunate therefore, to logically explain that a dedicated worker, who has been loyal and committed to his duties and responsibilities, having put in thirty-five (35) years in the service is hardly able to build a living house for himself and family, ride a good car and train his/her children in good schools. These underlying indices, in line with capacity, efficiency and competitive productive engagements are what should normally define earned wage on the long run and help to break the painful chain of poverty and recycle penury for the average worker and eventual pensioners.

Nevertheless, it is very important therefore, to emphasise that the substantial review and the prompt implementation of the new minimum wage in Edo, which is higher than the statutory prescription in Nigeria, as well as more than any other state in the country by the Edo State Governor, is absolutely in the right direction and highly commendable.

This gesture will certainly spur Edo State workers to be hopeful, believing that their Governor, Godwin Obaseki is certainly concerned with the economically-induced dwindling value of their wage, understands their plight and very ready and willing to do the possibilities whenever and wherever necessary.

In the light of the foregoing therefore, it is suffice to say that Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki has sufficiently done very well in this regard and has eternally added another constructive legacy, which will remain ever positive in the annals of posterity.

Source: Nigerian Observer

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