Bismarck Rewane, the head of the Presidential Technical Committee on the implementation of the new minimum wage has said the battle in Nigeria is between the poor and very poor.
The foremost economist in an interview with PUNCH newspaper on Saturday, said the rich are so few in Nigeria that they don’t even count. In his analyses of the Nigerian situation, he further compared the country with George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’.
He said the new minimum wage will make people live better lives because they will afford more and break the cycle of poverty.
“Nigeria’s growth at two per cent is below population growth rate and employment requirements. Therefore, we are in a vicious cycle of poverty — a race to the bottom. So, we should stop all these things and see how we can grow,” he said.
“In Nigeria, I think it is between the poor and the very poor. So, there is nothing like ‘rich’ in Nigeria because the rich are so few that they don’t even count. It is a battle between the poor and the very poor. After the very poor, you have those living in abject poverty. It’s a race to the bottom.
“It’s like a snake pit. In other words, nobody can come out of it. There is a battle for survival. If you’ve ever read the book, ‘Animal Farm’, that’s what it is. Because there is economic insecurity, it leads to social insecurity, which means that you are now reduced to your animalistic instincts in your battle for survival.
“So, there is income inequality and opportunity equality. But opportunity and income inequality are meaningless if there is no (economic) growth. When we now grow at the rate that can transform our lives, then you will see that the struggle and this battle — herdsmen (attacks) and so on — will reduce.”