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NAAT demands N350,000 minimum wage for workers - NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

APRIL 24, 2024

by Christian Appolos


As economic hardship in Nigeria continues to bite harder, the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has urged that the much-awaited new minimum wage for workers should not be anything below N350,000. The union also emphasized the need for a living wage.

The Union further stated that its demand for a minimum wage of N350,000 is based on the current economic situation in the country, exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies, high inflation rates, and the attendant hardships.

NAAT National President, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, made these statements during the opening session of the union’s 5th National Delegates Conference in Abuja. He noted, “Nigeria must transcend the concept of a mere minimum wage to embrace the notion of a living wage, commensurate with the rising cost of living.”

He added, “Comparatively, other African countries have made strides in this regard, recognizing the fundamental right of workers to earn wages that afford them dignity and a standard of living.”

According to the Wisevoter report, Seychelles boasts the highest estimated gross monthly wage in Africa, standing at $465.4, while South Africa’s monthly wage stands at $240. The naira equivalent of the wages of these countries would clearly depict the sorry state of the Nigerian worker.

“On this note, I propose a minimum of Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N350,000) for the Nigerian worker as a monthly wage,” stated Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma.

Addressing the issue of the backlog of salaries owed to NAAT members, he said, “The non-payment of backlog salaries remains a pressing concern, impacting the financial stability of our members and causing disaffection and low morale.”

“To address this challenge, the leadership in the next dispensation will pursue proactive measures, including dialogue with relevant authorities, recourse to necessary action within the ambit of the law, and sustained advocacy to ensure the prompt and fair resolution of outstanding salary arrears, prioritizing the welfare of members.”

“The dilapidated state of roads nationwide remains a glaring reflection of our infrastructure deficit. Inadequate road networks not only impede economic activities but also pose significant risks to safety and livelihoods. Urgent interventions are imperative to address this pressing infrastructure challenge.”

“In light of these realities, the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) pledges unwavering commitment to advocacy, dialogue, and appropriate action towards addressing these multifaceted challenges.”

“Together, let us strive for a Nigeria where education in technology thrives, security prevails, the economy flourishes, and infrastructure serves as a catalyst for development and prosperity.”

He emphasized that as the country embarked on the journey towards harnessing technology for national development and socioeconomic growth, citizens should remain steadfast in their commitment to innovation, collaboration, and progress.

“Together, we possess the power to shape a brighter future for Nigeria, leveraging technology as a catalyst for transformation. I therefore urge each delegate to actively engage in robust discussions, share insights, and forge pathways towards a better tomorrow as reflected in the theme of the conference.”

Declaring the NAAT NDC open, the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, urged NAAT to sustain negotiations and conversations with the government regarding all their demands instead of shutting down institutions. He emphasized that negotiations are more effective and productive than confrontation.

Meanwhile, he hinted that the federal government would soon introduce a policy making skill acquisition compulsory from primary to tertiary education.

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Prof. Mamman described NAAT as pivotal and at the center of the nation’s development, stating, “Skilling and technology are key components of the program the Ministry of Education is working on to be part of the education training in Nigeria from primary to tertiary level. Because to us in the Ministry, this is part of the solution to the problem of unemployment in the country.”

“At the center of this, is the work of technologists in the academic sector. Skilling and digitization are at the center of your work NAAT. Therefore, you better brace up for this very important sector-wide revolutionary change coming into the education sector. We have already established the national framework. You are occupying one of the most important arms of service in tertiary education.”

“On our part (as government) in the area of supporting growth and development and welfare, this government is determined to ensure that you are properly supported in all aspects. And that is why this government took the decision it took on IPPIS, on payment of your enhanced percentage. And we are also working on other things which are outstanding. Everything that is outstanding, we are working on it.”

“We are doing this because we have a President in Nigeria who works his talks. Once he makes a commitment, you can take it to the bank. So, I urge you to continue on the course of negotiations and backdoor conversations. They are very effective. It is much more effective than confrontation. Much more effective than shutting down the institutions.”


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