Re-examine Workforce Size - LCCI to Government
By Dipo Omoware
Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuf says it is time for the government to “re-examine the size of its workforce.” This follows the imminent face-off between government and organised labour over wage adjustment for those earning above minimum wage.
Speaking on the Morning Crossfire on 99.3 Nigeria Info, the LCCI DG said it is necessary “to calibrate it (salaries) in a way that even those who are not at the very bottom also have the benefit of the wage adjustment.”
Mr Yusuf, however, noted that the bigger problem was the size of the government’s workforce.
“The problem is that both the state government and the federal government are carrying a workforce that is also not realistic.”
Yusuf stressed the need for a critical look at the numbers because “it is better to keep a staff strength that you can pay regularly and pay well than (to) keep loads of people that you cannot afford to pay.”
Development Journalist and Nigeria Info’s Editorial Board Chair, Mr Rotimi Sankore, however, disagrees and says that the problem in this regard is one of productivity.
"If you go to any highly developed economy, you will find that the public sector normally employs say between 20 and 40 % of the population,"
“If the investment had been done in our public sector and we had railway crisscrossing the country, railway within; metro within the cities; if we had a centralized water system; waste management system; mass transit buses running as it should and electricity at a 160,000 – 200,000MW and so on and so forth – the public sector would be about 20 times what it is but it would be productive.”
Mr Sankore further added that a productive public sector “would earn its income, pay itself and would push the rest of the economy upwards."
He added that the Labour Unions need to tackle the problem from a development angle.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-Enactment Act into law in April 2019. The Nigerian Labour Congress has now asked the government to come to the negotiation table to discuss how this wage adjustment will affect those who earn above minimum wage.