Our attention has been drawn to an opinion article by veteran journalist Mr. Bayo Onanuga, titled ‘Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s courage’ and published in the Premium Times of May 19, 2021. He wrote, inter alia, in the said article that ‘Kwara has refused to pay the minimum wage. Gombe also announced a default. Kano recently announced wage cuts. Many states are groaning, as the workers demand full payment for their services.’
While we appreciate Mr. Onanuga’s decision to weigh in on the national minimum wage debate and a need for a sincere reality check, we say emphatically that his claim that Kwara State has refused to pay the minimum wage is not correct. As from the first quarter of 2021, no government worker in Kwara State earns below N30,000 national minimum wage. In other words, Kwara has met the irreducible minimum of the National Minimum Wage Act.
We however agree with Mr. Onanuga that the debate over the national minimum wage and issues related thereto must be embraced with open mind, devoid of politics, harassment or name-calling, and in full appreciation of issues of development and infrastructural deficits confronting our country. This is especially true of the local government administration in the country. Reform of the current system is inevitable and urgent, and the earlier all of us accept this reality the better for everyone, including the average citizens, who, apart from their right to earn decent salaries, also desire improvement in basic infrastructures and other services government exists to provide.