LCCI urges labour to be flexible, consider affordability in new minimum wage negotiation


LCCI urges labour to be flexible, consider affordability in new minimum wage negotiation


Following the ongoing negotiations regarding a new national minimum wage, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) have urge all parties to consider a wage that reflects a good balance of economic realities, affordability, and sustainability.

LCCI in a statement signed by it’s Director General Chinyere Almona, said the nation can avoid a situation where a wage is forced on government and businesses, which will eventually lead to job losses, worsened poverty levels, and so much money chasing few goods.

The Chamber said, “Therefore, we call on labor to be more flexible, reconsider the government’s offerings, and be concerned about how private businesses can afford to pay the set wage without considering shutting down operations or cutting jobs.

“Beyond the new minimum wage, the Chamber is more concerned about having a more productive economy with a robust infrastructural base supporting a economy,” the statement said.

The Chamber further stressed the need for the government to implement special non-cash interventions that will see businesses spend less on production.

According to LCCI, the government should remove the import duties on food imports and critical raw materials and drastically reduce the import duty exchange rate on agricultural input and other imports that have multiplier effects on prices.

“The government should implement an aggressive metering programme on power supply, and more investment and regulation in the sector to boost power supply through more contractual discipline and gas supply guarantees.

“The government should build infrastructure to support local production of essential medicines and more spending to upgrade our public health facilities.

“With the government’s commitment to providing these support systems to Nigerians, low-income earners will spend less on these expenditure heads and have a better living standard in the long run.

“The labour unions should consider labour productivity supported by infrastructure rather than high wages with weak productivity. The government needs to spend more on providing the infrastructural base required for a productive workforce and a conducive business environment,”LCCI said.

The Chamber further noted that the federal government’s proposals represent a significant increase aimed at improving the livelihood of workers across Nigeria, adding that it is imperative to acknowledge the fiscal constraints and economic challenges various state governments face.

“Some governors under the Nigerian Governors’ Forum have already indicated their inability to meet the initially proposed higher minimum wage, citing budgetary limitations and the potential risk to essential public services.

“We urge all parties to consider a wage that is within the financial capacity of both federal and state governments, will help maintain economic stability, and prevent potential layoffs or cuts in essential services. It is also pertinent to adopt a wage that supports long-term economic sustainability.

“Over-extending financial commitments could increase borrowing and debt, adversely affecting the nation’s economy. All states can uniformly implement the new minimum wage by agreeing to a realistic and achievable wage, ensuring that workers nationwide benefit without significant delays or discrepancies.

“A wage demand exceeding state governments’ capacity could lead to industrial actions, strikes, and widespread disruptions, further hindering economic recovery and growth,” it stated.

Also, the Chamber noted that the government needs to show more seriousness about cutting down the cost of governance and be committed to investing more in layers of infrastructure that support productivity and revenue generation.

With more transparency in government spending, LCCI maintained that future negotiations will become easier as all parties are well aware of the realities.

“We also call on the government to commit to having the national minimum wage reviewed every five years. The government can show concern about personnel welfare by enhancing their allowances beyond the minimum wage, which is only calculated based on basic salaries.

“We call on the labour unions to consider the interests of the broader business community in their demands and be more flexible in negotiations. We call on all parties to work towards a new national minimum wage that promotes a fair deal to all concerned and for the overall interest of society,” LCCI maintained.