It is appalling that the chronicle of the minimum wage which has been in the news has created so much clamour that not only workers but Corps members too are getting apprehensive to receive alerts on the increase. So many are hoping they enjoy the increase which the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, stated is tied to the national minimum wage, and that any increase will depend on it.
For a while now, corps members are entitled to 19,800 as their monthly allowance popularly called ‘allowee’. However, we have been hoping we also enjoy the new minimum wage too as it sometimes becomes difficult for that amount to sustain many corps members – most especially in cities where prices are exorbitant.
Painfully, some places of primary assignments do not pay corps members, while some pay as low as five thousand and others owe their staff not to mention corps members. Some of these corps members must rent apartments because of the unavailability of Corpers’ Lodge to rest at night.
For some corp members in places like Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt which are presumed to be hot cakes for job opportunities and high payments by corps members, prices of groceries and apartments are quite expensive. As such, there is a tendency that there are lots of corps members who suffer but cannot speak out or be heard due to the unavailability of appropriate channels.
All over the world, it is believed that remuneration increase in the public sector is underlined by the principle of equity and the need to bridge social inequality in the face of widening economic and social gaps amongst citizens of a country- whether corps members or staff.
Moreover, the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has since the April 18, 2019, when the new minimum wage was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari been at odds with the Federal Government over its proper implementation. And this has resulted in series of consequential adjustment agreements between both parties involved.
It could be recalled that, sometime ago, the management of the NYSC said it could not afford to pay the N30,000 minimum wage to corps members because it was yet to get such command from the Federal Government. This was when the DG debunked the claim circulating on social media of a fake twitter attached to him saying corps members would be paid the new minimum wage that month.
On the other hand, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has just disclosed on his twitter handle that the Federal Government has begun planning for the payment of the new minimum wage to corps members.
Our hope is that we will enjoy the new minimum wage so that we resign from the continued and relentless struggle to survive on the 19,800 wage. For so many are indebted; some are to cater for their needs and those of their siblings while some are to live better rather than pleading and begging for free ride or having to trek to their respective places of primary assignment.
Isah Ismaila Gagarawa,