Some financial experts and other Nigerians on Sunday urged the Federal Government to review the salaries of workers upwards.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that a substantial increase in workers’ wages would complement the government’s efforts in tackling corruption and other social vices.
Mr Oluwole Ibikunle, Managing Director of Boaz Management and Financial Strategies Ltd., said that the high level of inflation had eroded the value of workers’ salaries which had remained stagnant.
Ibikunle said that periodic upward review of workers’ wages would reinvigorate economic activities and boost the liquidity system as well as encourage investments among workers.
“Low wages make workers less productive, create discord in families and compel majority of the workers to engage in shady deals to make ends meet,’’ he stated.
Mr Remi Alarape, the Managing Director of Remmy Associates Ltd., attributed the increase in corruption and other social ills among the working class to the prevailing `dismal wages’.
Alarape said that the inability of the Nigerian working class to financially support extended family members to create small businesses had contributed to unemployment and high level poverty nationwide.
“A well-paid worker will not only support extended family members in operating small businesses but would find it difficult to engage in corruption or any social vice,’’ he said.
Mr Ojo Makinde, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan, also told NAN that the poor wage profile had robbed the country of committed workers interested in professional career growth.
“Job seekers are no longer concerned about the prospect of the jobs they get.
“They are only interested in the salary they will earn. This is the reason why many people want to work in multinational companies and oil firms that pay huge salaries,’’ Makinde said.
Mrs Dupe Bakare, Deputy Manager of Integrated Capital Services Ltd., said that workers in the civil service earned less than their counterparts in the private sector.
“A World Bank research conducted sometimes ago shows that over 120 million Nigerians live on less than two dollars per day.
“The situation has not improved. Even with the N18,000 minimum wage, it is very hard for people to survive on that kind of salary in a country where most goods are imported.
“Our salary is not good enough; we are grossly under-paid. We live on loans and without loans we can’t embark on meaningful projects like having houses and cars of our own.
“We would have finished spending the salary before it is even paid at the end of the month and we would have incurred lots of debts.
“We buy necessities like food and clothing on credit; it is like a cycle. At the end of the year, we always have nothing to show for our labour,” she said.
A medical practitioner, Mr Peter Johnson, appealed to government to increase workers’ salaries through improved wages.
“Many Nigerians are struggling to make ends meet; they can’t live the kind of lives they desire because of poor wages.
“How can people buy goods when they do not have money? It is good to encourage the growth of foreign and local businesses in the country. We should, however, empower people who will buy the products,’’ Johnson said.
Mr Ladi Afolabi, the Managing Director of Ethical Business and Management Associates (EBAM), said that poor wages constituted one of the greatest challenges to the Nigerian economy.
“In Nigeria, the computation of salary does not take into consideration the changes that affect the average worker as a result of the economic challenges facing the nation.
“As a result, at the end of the month, take home pay does not take people home again,” Afolabi said.
The managing director suggested that there should be a periodic review of national wages, based on contemporary indices