The minimum wage of N18,000 is now only $39.13, dancing around the poverty line of $1.25 a day, as the dollar exchanges at N460 at the black market.
Even at the official interbank rate of N305/$1, the minimum wage will only fetch you $59.01, which translates to $1.96 for 30 days.
These calculations is for a single wage earner without other ‘mouths to feed’ and take care of. But if we assume that each worker has three other persons under his care, the story of extreme poverty stares us clearly in the face.
At the official rate of N305/$1, the minimum wage spread across four people over a 30 day period only comes to 45 cents per person. And at the black market rate of N460/$1, it is 32 cents per person.
At the time President Muhammadu Buhari took over in May 2015, at the official rate of N197/$1, the N18,000 wage translated to $91.37. And spread over 30 days, it was $3.04. But for a family of four, it stood at 71 cents.
Then (May 2015), the black market rate of N220 meant the minimum wage was $81.81. And spread over 30 days, it was $2.72. And a family of four shared 68 cents apiece.
The idea of arriving at an amount as minimum for wage earners to be considered as living below poverty line gained momentum when a group of economists in the late 80s decided that anything below $370 a year, which roughly translated to $1.25 per day was unacceptable.
And in 1990, the United Nations adopted it as one of its millennium development goals, of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, among others.
The 8 goals set were:
- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equability and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Global partnership for development