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Nigerian committee agrees to raise minimum wage

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is running for reelection in February, said the plan would be put to parliament to vote on “within the shortest possible time”./AFP

AbujaNigeria, Nov 7 – A committee with representatives from Nigeria’s government, labour unions and private sector said Tuesday it had agreed to increase the minimum wage to 30,000 naira (72 euro, $82) a month.

The deal, which will need to be ratified by parliament, comes after weeks of tension between the three camps on the issue – and just a few months out from the country’s general election.

Following negotiations on Monday night, the committee “is recommending an increase in the existing national minimum wage from 18,000 naira to 30,000 naira,” said its chairwoman Ama Pepple.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is running for reelection in February, said the plan would be put to parliament to vote on “within the shortest possible time”.

He acknowledged that the committee had been set a difficult task.

“But at the same time we are also confident that the patriotic and the professional background of its members will produce realistic, fair and implementable recommendation that can be considered by both the executive and legislative arms of government,” Buhari said as he received the committee’s report.

On Monday, a number of unions – including the powerful oil and transport unions – threatened to launch an indefinite nationwide strike if the minimum wage was not raised.

Most of Nigeria’s more than 180 million people live in poverty despite the country’s immense oil and gas resources.

All the country’s 36 states have repeatedly voiced their opposition to a hike in the minimum wage. Many owe workers salary arrears despite substantial cash injections from the federal government.

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