Nigerians Urge Redirecting N90B Hajj Subsidy to Worker Pay as NLC Rejects N48,000 Minimum WageProposal


  • Seek End to wasteful pilgrimage funding
  • “Tripartite Committee Stalemate: Workers’ Unions Walk Out as Wage Negotiations Stall”
  • “NLC and TUC Slam Government’s Wage Offer as Wage Reduction, Plan Next Move”
  • “NECA Counters Government’s Proposal with N54,000 Minimum Wage Amidst Labor Discontent”

Calls from Nigerians to eliminate the N90 billion subsidy allocated for the Hajj pilgrimage and redirect all funds related to pilgrimages towards worker salaries.

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This call is motivated by the worsening cost of living in Nigeria. Essentially, the proposal is to prioritize the financial well-being of workers by reallocating funds traditionally used for religious pilgrimages.

As Nigeria grapples with a deteriorating cost of living and a surge in food-related fatalities, organized labor has vehemently rejected the federal government’s proposed minimum wage of N48,000 for public service workers.

The government’s stance was delivered during a resumed tripartite committee meeting on Wednesday, May 15, prompting the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to walk out of the virtual session in protest.

A labor leader participating in the meeting decried the government’s proposal as tantamount to wage reduction, asserting that it reflected a lack of seriousness in addressing the plight of workers. This sentiment echoed widespread discontent among workers who had anticipated a “living wage,” as promised by Vice President Kashim Shettima on May Day.

In response to the government’s offer, which fell far below expectations, the NLC and TUC advocated for a minimum wage of N615,000, citing the escalating cost of living as justification. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) proposed a minimum wage of N54,000, having earlier stated that the lowest-paid worker in the private sector earned N78,000.

With negotiations at an impasse, both labor unions have called for an emergency press briefing to unveil the government’s proposal and outline their next course of action. This standoff comes amid President Tinubu’s directive, conveyed through Vice President Shettima, to expedite deliberations on the minimum wage issue.

Amidst these wage disputes, revelations of the government’s allocation of N90 billion to subsidize the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage costs have sparked further outcry. Vice President Shettima disclosed this expenditure during the inauguration of the 2024 National Hajj operation in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, attributing it to challenges posed by fluctuating foreign exchange rates.

However, the disparity between lavish pilgrimage subsidies and inadequate wages for public service workers has intensified calls for a reevaluation of budgetary priorities. Advocates argue for the redirection of pilgrimage funds towards domestic public agricultural funding to bolster food security and alleviate the plight of millions grappling with the harsh economic realities in Nigeria.

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