By Bankole Adewale
Some nurses, under the aegis of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA), have called for a compromise between the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the N30,000 new minimum wage.
Speaking through their National Secretary, Mr Goodluck Nshi, they said an amicable resolution of the disagreement would enable workers and government to focus on their primary duties of developing the country forward in view of the enormous challenges facing the nation.
Nshi, who spoke yesterday with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, said they believed that though it was good to index minimum wage against cost of living, but the Federal Government and NLC should realise that issues on minimum wage and standard of living are knotty.
The nurses called for a deeper understanding of the factors at play, saying it is necessary to find a more encompassing solution to the impasse.
They recalled that in 2011 when minimum wage was increased from N7,500 to N18,000, the money amounted to United States (U.S) $112 at the then exchange rate of N160 per dollar.
“Today, at the rate of N360 per dollar, the N30,000 minimum wage amounts to U.S $83.
“Therefore, even with N30,000 minimum wage, it is understandable that there are still gross marginal wage deficits, if wages in 2019 are compared with what they were in 2011 in U.S dollars.
“This, notwithstanding, it is also understandable that prices of commodities are higher today than they were in 2011.
“On the other hand, the price of crude oil (which is the mainstay of our economy) has dropped from $110 per barrel it sold in 2011, to around $60 per barrel in 2019.
“This represents about 45 per cent reduction in government revenue from what it used to be in 2011, when compared to what it is in the current year.
“These factors need to be considered by both Federal Government and organised labour for the necessary compromise to be made to move the country forward,” UGONSA said.