Conceptualizing the Federal-State Interface and the Minimum Wage Debacle in Nigeria

Abstract :

One of the vital means of governmental intervention in increasing the standard of living of its citizenry in any state has been via the minimum wage structure. Wages deals basically with all forms of remunerations, allowances, earnings paid to employees as a form of reward to labour or hours put in work while the?minimum?amount of remuneration that an employer is required to pay?wage?earners for the work performed during a given period is what is referred to as the “Minimum wage”. Despite several minimum wage laws and several minimum wage increases in Nigeria, agitations continues to persist as workers and labour unions believe that the prevailing wages does not reflect the value of work. Disagreements between the government and the labour unions over minimum wage has always been an issue with incessant industrial actions/strikes being the order of the day. These strikes are sometimes averted, only for the implementation of agreements to fall below expectations of the workers and lead to further industrial actions, over and over again, this has been the recurring situation in Nigeria for decades. The crux of this minimum wage disagreement on the side of both the federal and state governments has been about the capacity and willingness to pay. This paper examines the reason for this frequent disparity in perspectives and equally highlights the threats to the present Nigerian minimum wage of N30,000. It concludes by positing that for the endless debate to stop and the much desired improve in the purchasing power of workers, the wage incremental policy should put into consideration each state perceived standard of living minimum requirement and an average wage should be agreed upon that would be the same for all states.