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Center Publication

Nigeria—Public Policy

by Ngozi Onyejeli

January 2011—Trade unions in Nigeria, though reluctantly established, have sought to address employment issues like wages, gender equity, work conditions, and employer/employee relations. Currently, however, certain workplace issues are still unresolved:

  • Employment law tends to favor employers over employees.
  • Work conditions and wages continue to remain a problem.
  • Nigeria ranks among the lowest of Comparable African countries for minimum wage. (Nigeria has a high cost of living, yet low minimum wage, while South Africa, by comparison, has a low cost of living and high minimum wage).
  • In Nigeria, the minimum wage is 0.55; the Purchasing Power Parity (the cost of living) is 2.27. The difference in the “actual” minimum wage and the PPP based minimum wage suggests there needs to be an adjustment in employment compensation.

The Nigerian government is working with international learning and development programs like UNICEF to tackle the literacy problem in the country. The literacy level in Nigeria among citizens aged 45-49 years is 32, less than half the level of those 15-19 years, at 67.

Currently, the government is committed to the elimination of poverty in the country, yet many citizens still struggle to survive on meager earnings from employment.

  • Nigeria has the highest number of citizens still living below $2 a day compared to other regional African countries; fully one third (34%) live below the national poverty line.
  • Just 37% of Nigeria’s citizens have the probability of surviving beyond the age of 40.

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