Nurses under the aegis of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) have called for a compromise between the Federal Government (FG) and organised labour over the new minimum wage for improved productivity and enhanced national economy.
The National Secretary of the Association, Nurse Goodluck Nshi made the call on Monday while briefing newsmen in Abakaliki.
He said that a peaceful resolution of the disagreement would enable the workforce focus on its input to move the nation forward and allow the FG concentrate on ways to tackle the insecurity facing the country.
Nshi said that although it is good to index minimum wage against cost of living to cushion the sufferings of the masses, the FG and organised labour should appreciate the fact that issues around minimum wage and standard of living are knotty and as such, a deeper understanding of the factors at play is necessary in finding a more encompassing solution to the minimum wage impasse.
He recalled that in the year 2011 when minimum wage was increased from N7500 to N18000, the N18000 amounted to $112 USD at the then exchange rate of N160 per dollar. Today, at the exchange rate of N360 per dollar, the N30, 000 minimum wage in concern amounts to $83 USD. 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 the year 2011 in US dollars. This notwithstanding, it is also understandable that prices of commodities are higher today than they were in the year 2011.
On the other hand, the price of crude oil (which is the mainstay of our economy) has pummeled from $110 per barrel that it sold in the year 2011 to around $60 per barrel in the year 2019. This represents about 45 percent reduction in government revenue from what it used to be in the year 2011 when compared to what it is in the current year.
“These factors need to be considered by both FG and the organised labour for the necessary compromise to be made to move the country forward.
On the Sallah celebration, the UGONSA scribe called on Muslims and Christians to leave harmoniously with one another in order to move the country to the next level.
“We facilitate with our Muslim brothers as they celebrate the 2019 Eid-el-Kabir. We wish you all a joyful Sallah Celebration. May God bless you and your dear ones with peace, prosperity and happiness on this occasion of Eid-El-Kabir,” Nshi said.