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Jun 3, 2024, 12:02pm EDT
Africa
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Semafor Signals

Nigeria grinds to a halt as labor strikes shut down essential infrastructure

Insights from The Conversation, Business Day Nigeria, and Bloomberg

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Nigerian unions shut down the electricity grid and disrupted airlines in strike over minimum wage
Reuters
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The News

Nigeria’s electricity grid shut down on Monday as the country’s main labor unions engaged in a general strike. Schools, offices, and hospitals are also closed and most flights were canceled at Nigeria’s major airports.

The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress said the strike will continue until the government raises the minimum wage to at least 494,000 naira a month ($369). President Bola Tinubu’s government countered that the demands risked destabilizing the economy.

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The price of gas and other commodities has soared to a record 28-year-high in Nigeria, in part due to ending subsidies and devaluing the currency.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Nigeria’s minimum wage lags behind cost of living

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Sources:  
The Conversation, Business Day Nigeria

Nigeria’s minimum wage has not kept pace with spiraling inflation and other cost-of-living pressures, an economics professor told The Conversation. Many workers have “side hustles” to make ends meet, to the extent that some public sector workers spend little time at their primary place of work, he said. If the government raises the minimum wage, then it could be a “robust tool for economic stability and social equity,” Business Day Nigeria argued.

Economic reforms not enough to halt corporate flight

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Source:  
Bloomberg

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu pushed an economic reform agenda, but those measures did not stop multinationals Procter & Gamble, GSK, and several other large companies from exiting the country amid falling profit margins and myriad supply chain and infrastructure issues: “What Nigeria must offer is not just opportunities, but fewer headaches,” the former Africa editor of the Financial Times told Bloomberg.

Ordinary Nigerians are left behind

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Sources:  
Business Day Nigeria , International Monetary Fund

President Tinubu’s early economic reforms won praise from the World Bank, with the chief economist at World Bank Nigeria last year hailing the changes as setting the stage “for a new, upward investment, growth and development trajectory” — but they have wreaked havoc on ordinary Nigerians, Business Day Nigeria argued in a recent editorial. With almost one in 10 people facing hunger in the country, addressing rising food insecurity through a well-targeted social safety net should be the immediate policy priority, the International Monetary Fund said in March, rather than fuel and electricity subsidies.

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