- New Minimum Wage, The Stereotyped Argument of Price Increase by ETETE, ENIDENEZE
ABUJA – It is understandable that a new minimum wage has some negative effects, particularly increase in prices of goods and services in the market.
But the speculated increase in prices of goods seems to have become a kind of stereotype or propaganda-based argument usually staged against the demand for wage increase.
Though a realistic economic argument, let’s consider that the inflation and high prices of goods/services have been on for a long time now, even without salary increase. Inflation is not caused by workers, else they should never be deprived of new wage.
It should be considered that during inflation, people with fixed income, like salary or wage, suffer most, unlike traders, artisans and others who earn flexible incomes and also benefit from the increase in market prices.
Again, the civil servants spend the stagnant minimum wage in the same economy/market with other income earners, amidst the extant inflation.
Also, current events tend to show that Western and traditional economic theories and principles might not always match realities on ground in Nigeria. Examples: (1) inflation simply means too much money chasing too few goods, but there is hardly too much money in circulation or at citizens’ disposal in Nigeria, even as it is true that goods are few, thus prices are high. (2) Recession, has ended officially, and by the logic of economics, but there is still recession in our pockets and kitchens, because other factors that should make the economy viable, examples, technology, capital, industrialization, true federalism, multiple products economy etc, are still untapped.
So l believe that the civil servant should be given a pay rise, and let him or her spend it in the inflationary economy, with or without value for the salary. And let it so be, for the civil servant.
This is more so, considering that it is worst to have stagnated salary in an economy that is usually in inflation.
Worst of all workers’ use part of their salary and other personal funds and facilities to facilitate work in workplaces, as overheads and impress are rare or no longer given to many government institutions.
The pay rise now and periodically is a necessity. The government, especially, governors should patriotically pay the new wage when approved.
Governors not keen about paying the wage of N30,000.00, which will not even be a living wage, should know that government and the states are public institutions which they will vacate one day.
So, they should not preemptively cry over inability to pay as if the burden will be their personal burden. What about the various loan burdens, some of them will bequeath to their successors?
Have they thought of the long-term impact, let alone, clearing them before their tenures expire?
Governors ought to think out of the box, to generate revenues instead of depending on dwindling federal monetary allocations. If federal laws are expropriating rights of their states, they ought to lobby for constitutional amendments, to freely explore resources in their domains.
Anything less than these, should rather constitute grounds for governors to resign patriotically, and let the states they have portrayed as ‘unproductive’ remain for others with managerial acumen, to govern, for the wellbeing of the people.
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