While progress—no matter how little, is worth celebrating, the recent increase in Nigeria’s minimum wage from 18,000 Naira to 30,000 Naira has got many Nigerians debating how good a step-up it really is. On one side of the panel are those who feel the increase is a good start on the part of the government and on another side are those who feel it’s not worth celebrating an increase that’s still among the lowest minimum wage in the world. Besides, they ask, how effective is this increase in ‘figures’ when Nigeria’s economy remains poor. The exchange rate is still weak and the price of petrol keeps hiking—given this condition, how beneficial is receiving a higher income?
These worries and agitations are quite understandable. However, while we hope the government will do more, you’ve got to admit that an increase is better than no increase at all. For so long, government workers have been earning peanuts for hours of exhaustive labor. And though you can’t say a 30,000 Naira minimum wage is great, these workers will fare better than they did when they were earning 18,000 Naira minimum wage, especially if they can do the following:
As a single Nigerian with fewer financial responsibilities, it shouldn’t be too difficult to minimize your expenses. Those parties that’s got you sewing a new dress or making human hair, are they all that compulsory? Throwing a birthday party, visiting expensive spots and all that can be so much fun but they leave you broke and unhappy before the month ends.
Make your wants less of a priority and focus on your needs, partying every weekend is a ‘want’ you can do without.
If your place of work is far from where you live, partition your movements—half or quarter trekking and half bus or ‘keke’ rides. Instead of boarding a bus at the nearest bus stop, trek past one or two bus-stops. The Tfare will be cheaper than if you had entered the first bus you saw immediately you stepped out of your house. Follow the same process when you leave work—your legs were basically designed for trekking. The little cash you’d have handed to the bus conductor can go into feeding or something more important.
Cut Out Unnecessary Spending
You want to catch up on the latest events, stream live videos or chat with friends and you need data for that. Once you exhaust your data, you top it up immediately—hard not to, even if it is to borrow from your service provider. This has become the bane of your account balance and it can’t go on that way—not if you want to get to another phase of life. You won’t have any money left to put into better opportunities if you keep spending unnecessarily.
When you start receiving monthly alerts of 30,000, you can deduct 10,200 and live as if you still earn N18000. The deducted money can go into small capital investments like starting a recharge card printing business, learning and going into graphic design, planning events and so on. You can start most of these businesses with N10,000 and engage in them during weekends.
Sure, the country is dry and earning a low pay makes it almost unbearable but with extra discipline, smartness and hard work, you should be able to survive.