While Nigeria’s minimum wage stands at $60, South Africa introduces $260 minimum wage

south-africa

South Africa will introduce a national minimum wage of 3,500 rand ($261) per month in 2018, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.

The announcement follows protracted negotiations between the government and labour unions.

Nigeria’s current minimum wage is N18,000 ($60) with organised labour asking it be increased to at least N50,000 ($166), despite several state and local governments defaulting on the existing amount.

The Nigerian government has not acceded to labour’s request amidst a biting recession that has crippled Africa’s largest economy.

Workers have meanwhile complained the N18,000 is way below a living wage and cannot meet basic needs of workers.

Supporters of a South African minimum wage say it can stimulate growth as workers can spend more, and reduce inequality.

Critics say it could lead to increased unemployment as employers will be unable to afford higher wage bills.

Credit ratings agencies have said agreeing a minimum wage would help Africa’s most industrialised economy hold onto its investment-grade rating by stabilising the labour market and reducing the number of strikes.

1111_cyril-ramaphosa_650x455“The balance we have sought to strike is that it must not be too low, so that it doesn’t affect the lowest paid workers, but not too high that it leads to massive job losses,” Mr. Ramaphosa told a news conference.

Mr. Ramaphosa said the national minimum wage, which equates to 20 rand (1.50 dollars) per hour, would come into effect in May 2018.

Businesses that are unable to afford the minimum wage would be permitted to apply for an exemption of up to 12 months, he said.

The Treasury had also thrown its political weight behind the policy initiative.

Chief economist at Nedbank, Dennis Dykes, said the agreement was a sign of an improving relationship between labour, business and government, but warned that its implementation needed to be monitored.

“It is by no means certain this will lead to job creation.

“It needs to be watched carefully for any negative effects,” Mr. Dykes said.

Monthly earnings for employees averaged 18,045 rand (1,200 dollars) per month in May 2016, according to Statistics.

Many workers earn far less than that, with domestic workers and farm labourers among the lowest paid.

Some unions had asked for a minimum wage of as much as 4,500 rand.

South Africa’s mining sector was brought to its knees by a crippling five-month stoppage over pay in 2014,pushing the economy to the brink of a recession.

South Africa’s unemployment rate hit its highest level on record, 27.1 per cent of the workforce, in the third quarter of 2016, and it remains amongst the world’s most unequal societies.


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  • Sai Baba

    Premium Times must know how how to be patriotic.
    Minimum wage of $260 for Nigerians will mean that “if we don’t kill corruption,
    corruption will kill Nigeria”. We are doing CHANGE in Nigeria. That means $50 minimum wage
    is okay, because change is not easy to do. Change means complete darkness without electricity,
    no employment, no water, no food, no water. South Africa is not doing change. That’s why they
    are paying minimum wage of 100,000 Naira a month to ordinary office cleaners. That is corruption.
    We are doing change in Nigeria. We pay office cleaner 15,000 Naira only per month. That way,
    the office cleaner will be disciplined. No more soft drink, one meal a day, no toothpaste again,
    trekking to work instead of getting spoilt sitting inside a bus. Can you see what patriotism means?

    • Goddy

      Minimum wage in South Africa is now ₦160,000 a month for lowest paid worker, yepa!

      What am I doing with Muhamadu Buhari who is hale and hearty and on indefinite sick leave?

      • Julius

        Well, have you heard or read anywhere where the ex president of South Africa shared $billion meant for his country and logged it in somebody else name in overseas bank ? Have you read anywhere that the South Africa NSA sent notes to their Central Bank to withdraw billions ? ..You get the gist ? or you are just comfortable blaming Buhari ?

        • Otile

          Corruption was worse in Malaysia than Nigeria, condition there was hopeless with no crude oil to fall upon, yet Lee Kuan Yew came in and turned the country around under 2 years. Buhari has ruled Nigeria two times yet he has no clue, instead the last state of Nigeria has become worse than the first. As a matter of fact under Jonathan Nigerian economy was developing faster than that of South Africa. Oil production and price have improved tremendously for Nigeria yet Nigeria is sinking under Imam Buhari. What is the problem?

          • Julius

            Buhari became the president almost 2 plus years ago. It took President Obama almost 3 years to get the U S economy on the right path and remember they have a better system in place than we do. Did you know how they deal with corruption in Malaysia ? If it is being tried here in Nigeria, you and I will be among the people coming out yelling it is witch-hunting, selective and the fake rule of law that we all rant about. Are you telling me that everything was fine before Buhari came on board ? I hate to tell you that he would have been doing better as a MILITARY HEAD OF TATE. At least he won’t be saddled with the democratic processes. Yes, we must criticize who ever is the president but, we need to be fair.

          • Dejandon

            Malaysia turned around under two years? What were you smoking that gave you selective amnesia?

          • Otile

            Are saying that Malaysia had not noticeable economic improvement 2 years after Yew stepped in? You must be drinking something that induced you into bad amnesia.

          • Otile

            Are you saying that Malaysia had no noticeable economic improvement 2 years
            after Yew stepped in? You must be drinking something that induced you
            into bad amnesia.

  • thusspokez

    Nigeria’s current minimum wage is N18,000 ($60) with organised labour asking it be increased to at least N50,000 ($166), despite several state and local governments defaulting on the existing amount.

    Inappropriate comparison. Money is what money can buy. For example, the cost of grocery, clothing, housing, transportation, school fees, etc., are not the same in both countries, hence the comparison is meaningless.

    • Senator D

      Your purchasing power determines the quality of goods and services you can acquire or receive…The purchasing power of the Nigerians, even amongst the thieving elites, has declined as the quality of goods and services are also declining. The comparison is that whilst South Africa a major player in Africa’s economy is improving your government of the day is clueless on how to improve the quality of life of it’s citizenry…

  • Ola

    What are the basis of comparison , there distinct differences between Nigeria’s economy and South Africa’s.
    This story has no intellectual justification for its publication.

    • Senator D

      Really? Did you check their GDP and Purchasing power within the last 20-months?

  • UK BOY

    Nigeria minimum wage is not $60 (60 * 500= N30000, it is $36 (18000/500) . Just correcting the mis information.

    • Senator D

      Thank you!

  • Curseless

    Nigeria is a consumer nation principally while South Africa is a producer nation. The principal source of income to Nigeria is oil and we have lost that leverage now. Nigeria found itself where it should not be, so we can’t compare apples with oranges. As a note of caution remove the white population and tell me in five years whether things will be the same. Zuma have started on that path.

    • Senator D

      When a system is built over years it will take years to destroy that system. Don’t forget Nigeria also had it’s fair share of whites but because of ethnic-bigotry and cronyism we flooded round holes with square pegs and embellished pebbles whist we denuded diamonds…I sincerely pray South Africa will NOT go the way of Nigeria…

      • thusspokez

        Nigeria also had it’s fair share of whites

        What exactly do you mean? I suggest you keep your inferiority complex to yourself.

      • Dejandon

        Actually it is very easy to destroy q system no matter how long it has been built. I join in your prayers for SA

  • FreeNigeria

    Major corporations in the world are opening customer service centers in South Africa, while Nigerian politicians are busy stealing our commonwealth and crippling existing businesses.

    • thusspokez

      Major corporations in the world are opening customer service centers in South Africa

      And you call ‘customer service’ a proper job? Maybe, they are relocating from India to SA because SA wages have become lower than wages in India — albeit, one of the lowest in the world.

      • FreeNigeria

        better than what we currently have. Don’t you think so?

        • thusspokez

          Everything could be better in Nigeria, if the right people are employed to do jobs.

  • Rommel

    South Africa’s income per capita is also $5,859 which is far higher than Nigeria’s so before we complain,we should look at things holistically

    • thusspokez

      What has income per capital got to do with minimum wage?

      • Dejandon

        Thats why you should learn since you cant understand that minimum wage is relative to per capital

        • thusspokez

          Bullocks! But why don’t you ‘educate’ the reader? — Something I am sure, you can’t.

  • Man_Enough

    The comparison is mischievous aimed at ridiculing the government. Why not Ghana or Zimbabwe? The news of south African minimum wage can stand alone.

    • Otile

      Better, why not Nigeria and Somalia since both of them are pursuing the same policies?

      • Man_Enough

        That’s the point.

  • Ben Ikari

    Inasmuch as the need exist for minimum wage increase to living wage in Nigeria and other African nations, the writers’ points lost taste and credibility when they ignorantly use $60.00 and $260.00 to respectively represent Nigeria’s and South Africa’s currencies. Except they’re aiming to present and represent the interest of western media, governments and nongovernmental organizations which often say most Africans live on less than $2.00 a day, common sense should have told them that neither Nigeria nor South Africa use American Dollar as their national currencies. Simply put, dollar isn’t the official currency of Nigeria, Naira is. Also, South Africa has Rand as its national currency, not dollar. It becomes mischievous and mis-education/misleading yet gross ignorance for these writers or reporters and others in Nigeria, other African nations to continue to use dollar and its equivalence in judging African nations whereas such equivalence is gross mismatch and completely wrong thus a display of unbelievable absurdity. Meanwhile, take Nigeria, for instance, if they’ve ever lived in America or currently living in America they would understand if honest that what one dollar can buy in USA may be or is less than what the equivalence of same one dollar, which is currently about N400.00 or more can buy in Nigeria. South African Rand is about R-13.4109. Lastly, Westerners, especially white Americans and the media (mainstream, etc.) own and controlled by whites uses the American currency rants to trash or talk down and disrespect African nations. It’s therefore better for African reporters, colleges and universities or anyone in power and organizational leadership to understand western mentality and forthwith from using currencies such as dollar and pound sterling, which aren’t officially used in the continent to judge her. They’d do proper research and write or report on matters of real importance to Africa and its citizens. Telling honest (reality) stories of Africa by balancing positive and negative instead of helping America and other western nations in their bid to mostly paint negative poverty and sickness, disease and conflict or war pictures of Africa without telling their citizens and the world how they’ve contributed and still contributing to the misfortune of the continent. By the way, there is poverty, illiteracy, sicknesses and diseases including insecurity (daily homicide, domestic violence and sexual assault against women) in America, UK and other parts of Europe and North America. Africa is surely facing hard times due to the greed and incompetence, deadly nature of politicians, rulers among others who are following the precedents of the slave and colonial masters alongside western companies such as $hell, Exxon Mobil, Eni, Halliburton to name a few exploiting, polluting and corrupting Nigeria and other African countries. Nevertheless, some good things happen in the continent. Of course, good and bad like negative and positive are part of life. They happen everywhere in the world including America, UK, France, Germany and African nations.

    .