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Nigeria is one of the worst countries for minimum wage earners to live in, a new report by e-commerce firm, Picodi, has revealed.

As at January 2020, Nigeria recorded the highest year to year increase in the minimum wage (N26,697).

This is a 64.8 per cent increase, when compared to N16,200 received in 2019, hence, out of 54 countries, Nigeria earned the first spot in terms of an increase in minimum wage yearly.

However, when converted into USD, Nigeria’s minimum wage is said to be one of the lowest.

The firm decided to confront the minimum wage with food prices and concluded that the minimum wage in Nigeria is so low that it does not cover the costs of even the most basic shopping basket.

The shopping basket consists of eight items: bread, milk, eggs, rice, cheese, meat, fruits, and vegetables, which the firm believes will meet the nutritional needs of an adult.

“At the beginning of 2020, food prices from the list are as follows: Milk (10 liters) — N8,443; Bread (10 loaves, 500 g each) — N3,334; Rice (1.5 kg) — N1,002, Eggs (20) — N809; Cheese (1 kg) — N1,238; Poultry and beef (6 kg) — N8,357; Fruits (6 kg) — N4,588, Vegetables (8 kg) — N4,650.

“The total price of basic food products amounts to N32,421, which is 2.81 per cent more than in the previous year,” it said.

The report also revealed that high food prices are eating up a significant portion of the compensation that minimum wage earners in Nigeria took home. According to Picodi, minimum wage earners in the country spend 121.4 per cent of their monthly salary on basic food items alone, placing Nigeria in the 53rd position, out of the 54 countries examined.

According to the report, the best ratio of food prices to the minimum wage was seen in Australia, followed by the United Kingdom and Ireland. Workers in these countries spend 7 per cent of their monthly pay on essential food products.

“Depending on the country, the minimum wage concerns from few to several dozen per cent of the working population. By definition, the minimum wage should protect employees against unduly low earnings,” it said.

Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic, came 54th, the report, which was released on Tuesday, highlighted.

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