A psychologist, Prof. Benjamin Ehigie, warned on Friday that endless delay in paying Nigerian workers the new minimum wage could make the workers become recalcitrant.
Ehigie, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
He spoke against the backdrop of the endless wait by civil servants in the country to start receiving a long overdue new minimum wage being packaged by the Federal Government.
Public sector workers in Nigeria have been under intense economic pressure for years, in a country where political office holders, including members of the bicameral parliament, collect some of the biggest pay cheques in the world.
According to Ehigie, continued delay in paying workers the new wage is taking a toll on their psyche and this can have negative consequences on the work they do and how they do it.
“Expectations when not met on time bring despair. The emotional mood of happiness is already down, even when the money will be eventually paid,’’ he said.
The psychologist said the effect of the delay would discourage the workers and lead to low productivity.
“There will be counter behaviour in form of lateness to work. There will be unruly behaviour or even theft in the offices.
“Some workers can start destroying properties as a way of expressing their anger. I advise the lawmakers and the government to fast-track the approval and implementation of the wage,’’ Ehigie said.
Speaking on the issue, the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, said that expectations were high that the Senate would accelerate action on the passage of the new minimum wage bill.
He lamented that the Senate had delayed action on the wage process, unlike the lower chamber that fast-tracked the passage of the bill after receiving it from the Presidency.
Kaigama, however, expressed optimism that the Senate would approve the N30,000 recommended by the tripartite committee on the minimum wage.
Also speaking, Mr. Chris Onyeka, Deputy General Secretary of the United Labour Congress, pleaded with the Senate to fast-track the passage of the bill.
He said the upper legislative chamber should treat the bill with dispatch as a parting gift to workers before the termination of the current political dispensation.
It may be recalled that, on January 29, the House of Representatives approved N30,000, as against the N27,000 sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari as the new minimum wage.
Nigeria last reviewed its minimum wage in 2011, when former President Goodluck Jonathan reviewed the pay from N7,500 to N18,000.