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How To Resolve Minimum Wage Crisis – Olaopa



Prof. Tunji Olaopa giving his speech at the event.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission ( FCSC), Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has suggested ways to resolve the current minimum wage.

Olaopa spoke on Monday in Abuja during a retreat on “Labour Reforms and the Quest for Living Wage in Nigeria: A Focus on Legislative Intervention” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).

The bureaucrat who said that the topic was relevant since the process of fixing a national minimum wage was yet to be resolved recalled that in April 2024, President Bola Tinubu constituted a 37-member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage with the charge to recommend a New Minimum Wage (NMW). He said the timing of this significant move by the government was predicated on the attainment of the statutory 5-year periodicity following the last enactment of the rate in April 2019; and the significant rise in the cost of living resulting largely from the FGN’s removal of subsidies on petroleum products, and its unification of FOREX rates .

Prof. Tunji Olaopa being interviewed.

He disclosed that there was a stalemate among the parties and the Tripartite (government, OPS, and labour unions) on the acceptable rate to adopt, which keeps threatening national industrial peace and harmony.

While he noted the minimum pay would motivate workers to work hard as to improve productivity, he noted the need to reckon with the capacity of employers to pay the contemplated wage level, given their revenue base, other cost commitments, bottom-line and their capacity to meet their basic mandates.

Explaining concepts such as wage and salary, Olaopa said: ” There are so many concepts embedded in this conversation. It is not useful to make this clarification academic. Consequently, I will simply explain the meaning so we are on the same page as I proceed.The first is wages, which in a general sense is a pecuniary reward paid to an employee for his or her services to an organisation. In a classical sense however, a wage is the emolument paid for specific units of labour rendered, usually measured hourly or daily rates, and is usually applicable to blue-collar jobs in factory lines.The second concept is salary, which in practical terms is the same thing as a wage; a reward for employee’s service. It is however technically different, as unlike wages, it is measured in annual rates and paid in monthly instalments, usually applicable to white collar jobs. The third category is pay, which encompasses wages and salaries as well as any regularly paid allowances or emoluments.The fourth is remuneration or compensation which is a broad term that includes wages or salaries, but wider in scope to cover financial allowances as well as such non-pecuniary benefits such as paid vacation, study leave, provision of car allowance or free transport, accommodation, medical expenses, other staff loans, long-service awards, etc.”

A group photograph of Prof. Tunji Olaopa, the Minister of State for Labour, Nkiruka Onyejeocha , Nigeria Labour Congress President  Joe Ajaero,  and others at the event.

Olaopa also distinguished between the living wage and minimum wage. According to him, “a living wage is an income level that allows the employees and his/her households (as might be bench-marked) to afford minimum or adequate shelter, food, and other basic necessities of life.

“Minimum wage, on the other hand, is the lowest amount of remuneration required to be paid by law to an employee by an employer for work performed during a given period”.

According to Olaopa, the Tripartite Committee, chaired by Alhaji Goni Aji, has submitted its report to the President. But the latest information is that there is yet no agreement on the proposed wage figure.

He said that whereas labour’s last offer is N250,000 per month, that of government and private sector employers is in the region of N60,000.

According to him, faced with this impasses, the president has the option of calling Labour for a last-ditch discussion toward some compromise figure or to submit government’s preferred figure to the National Assembly for enactment.

“If the second option is chosen, the National Assembly will be advised to take up the gauntlet of mediation to reach a mutual rate, before the enactment.

“Where no agreement is reached after such efforts, the Assembly can pass the law anyway, because it is not absolutely necessary that agreement is reached in every negotiation,” he said.

Regarding issues raised by Comrade Joe Ajaero, President, Nigerian Labour Congress and others during the discussion of his paper, Olaopa opined that even in an ideal situation, the tripartite committee would still have some points of fundamental disagreement regarding workers rights and condition of service.

He said: “With regard to the unresolved minimum wage, even the N62,000 which the government is proposing, if calculated and extrapolated along compression ratio and the consequential it will generate, implementing will be significant pressure on the national economy, how much more if government meets the labour even half-way to the N250,000 it proposed?

“The only window according to him, is for the government to work harder on unbundling the bloated cost of governance through efficiency cum productivity audits of the entire expenditure structure of government with a view to freeing resources to finance development programmes and enhanced remuneration for the workforce. And even at that the government would only have addressed the government side and not that of the private sector.

“Indeed, the nation has reached a point where the tripartite committee needs a no-holds-barred conversation that should culminate in a national summit, the objective of which will be to arrive at a shared vision on Nigeria’s development future and how to achieve industrial harmony that is so badly required for national economic transformation. And the paper presented by Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, president of the National Industrial Court has thrown up some issues that should feature along with numerous others in that national conversation.”

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Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage



BREAKING: Dogara, Babachir Lead Northern Christians Against Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim Ticket

By John Michael Ojo

The Federal Government on Thursday, pegged the new national minimum wage at N70,000.

This was made known by Mr Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers with promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

“President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.

“President Tinubu announced the decisions at the meeting held with leaders of TUC and NLC on Thursday in Abuja, the second time the parties met in 7 days,” the statement read.

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Olaopa Urges Youths To Shun Japa Syndrome, Prepare For Leadership



Prof. Tunji Olaopa flanked by Hon Abike Dabiri (left )and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi , former Head of Service of the Federation ( right) at the event on Thursday.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has urged youths to prepare for leadership positions early in life instead of travelling overseas to seek opportunities, a development that is popularly known as the Japa syndrome.

The seasoned bureaucrat and former federal permanent secretary said that opportunities abound for youths but that they could only access them when they begin early .

According to Olaopa who spoke on Thursday during the 2023/2024 graduation of KIA Lakeside Academy in Abuja, these opportunities will elude the youths if they opt to go and wander on the streets of foreign countries. He said : ” In the civil service I am very familiar with, people grow old and retire every day. We need youths to fill such vacancies that the old people leave behind . If all the youths go abroad to be doing menial jobs, do we go to Ghana and other neighbouring countries to employ their youths?

Prof. Tunji Olaopa and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, former Head of Service of the Federation at the event.

He said that under his leadership of the Federal Civil Service, there is so  much hope for youths to access federal jobs. He said he had decided to maintain a policy of transparency and equity in making jobs in the civil service available for all eligible Nigerian youths through open advertisement.

He said in the area of political leadership, the older generation could not keep on dominating the sector. He said that the youths would be need to replace the old political leaders as they quit the scene.

According to him, the ability to prepare early for leadership goes hand in hand with a clear vision. He said nobody could prepare for anything if there is no clear vision of where they are going or what they want.

He said people who reach great heights in life always have a clear vision of where they are going early in life and they work towards it. He gave the example of former United States President Bill Clinton who as a youth had a clear vision of being his nation’s leader.

According to Olaopa, past and current leaders in Nigeria have had early in their youths clear visions of what they want in life. He said it was this clear visions early in life that made them trailblazers in different areas of life. In politics he cited Chief Obafemi Awolowo , Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others. He said that these were trailblazers in their youth. He said in business, young people have become trailblazers.

He said that because of the opportunities the current world offers, youths do not need to become old people before reaching great heights in life. According to him, youths have become trailblazers in technology . He mentioned the examples of Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk and a younger Bill Gates.

Talking about breaking the glass ceiling, Olaopa said that no gender barrier should stop anyone from reaching the summit of life. He said many women in the past and the present have been trailblazers. He mentioned Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Dora Akunyili,l and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said unlike in the past , many bank CEOs in Nigeria are currently women.

However, Olaopa said that nobody could be a trailblazer without preparation. He said this preparation comes in the form of education. He quoted Nelson Mandela who once observed that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He said if in the past people we regard as great today could get education despite the huge barriers they were faced with, youths of today have no excuse. He said Awolowo was faced with a huge educational disadvantage which he overcame by studying at home . He said Azikiwe had to find his way overseas where he suffered to educate himself. According to him, one of the greatest lawyers today in Nigeria is Chief Afe Babalola. He said Babalola overcame his challenges by studying at home and that today he owns one of the best universities in the country.

According to him, youths who lack the opportunity of going to formal university classrooms can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the open university system that the Federal Government supports .

He said that in fact President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated his interest in the education of the less-privileged through his government’s Student loan scheme. He said that youths who desire to acquire university education but have no sponsors can use that scheme.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Service As Yemi-Esan Retires




As the current Head of Service Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, is due to retire on August 13, 2024, President Bola Tinubu has approved her replacement. She is Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack.

Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

While thanking Yemi-Esan  for her stewardship, President Tinubu tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.

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