NLC Strike, Minimum Wage Issues and Nigeria’s Economy


Thursday, October 04, 2018 9.30AM / Proshare WebTV


The Nigerian Labour Congress the major trade union of Africa’s largest economy, on Sunday September 03, 2018 called off its warning nationwide strike. 

Comrade Ayuba Wabba the President of NLC speaking on the strike said the decision was borne out of the need to prepare for a new round of engagement with the Federal Government, to address the key issues that led to the industrial action. 

In this article we take a look at the issues around the strike, minimum wage and the economy.


NLC Strike

The NLC warning strike which commenced on Thursday September 26, 2018 and called off Sunday September30, 2018, was a result of the failure of the Federal Government to meet the 14-day ultimatum set to review the minimum wage, from the current N18,500 a month to N65,000 from September. 

NLC met earlier with the Federal Government team but it was deadlocked and led to the decision to embark on the warning strike. 

During the period of the warning strike Government offices at the federal, state and local government levels were closed, alongside schools, banks and other key institutions. 

In an interview the Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr. Chris Ngige shared that the NLC did not communicate the ultimatum to his office, but rather the office 0f the Secretary to the Federal Government. 

Ngige noted that the decision to increase the minimum wage will cut across the Federal and State levels, and will require thorough and robust consultations.


Minimum Wage

On the issue of minimum wage, we take a comparative of countries across the globe from developed, emerging to frontline economies.


Minimum Wage of Some Countries



Minimum Wage


$210 per month


$330 per month


$300 per month


$ 1,734 per month


$3,000 per month


$240 per month


$68 per month

Saudi Arabia

$800 per month


$802 per month


$ 50 per month

South Africa

$277 per month


$270 per month




Source: Wage Indicator, Wikipedia


From the table above it is clear that Nigeria is in the category of nations with a low minimum wage structure that needs urgent review. 

The proposed N65,000 minimum wage is approximately $180 per month.



From an economic perspective, increasing the minimum wage drives household consumption across the country and produces room for investments. 

It could also affect employment as the government will be looking at their wage bills across the three tiers (Federal, State and Local) particularly at a time when there are challenges in revenue. 

Some States have experienced challenges in paying the N18,000 minimum wage and analysts are worried about how they will cope with the new wage. 

There will be tough choices ahead for the Federal Government who from the political-economic angle will not want labour issues as the 2019 general elections approaches. 

As the NLC and the Federal Government meet from today, expectations are that there will be a realistic engagement that will take into consideration the economic realities in the country. 

On one hand N18,000 is no longer tenable for the workers in Nigeria, while on the other leg the N65,000 minimum wage should be negotiated to a level that all Federal and States can apply with clear timelines. 

In this regard the Federal Allocations Accounts Committee(FAAC) principle will have to be reviewed to empower the States, currently the Federal has 52% share, States 27% share and Local Governments 21% share.


Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.

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