A report revealed that 40% of Nigerians say in the unregulated informal sector, they are being owed wages.
The report, which was compiled by socioeconomic research firm, SBM intelligence, was released on Thursday. It cited responses from 3,416 respondents surveyed in a study on delayed wages in the informal sector in the country.
The respondents also cited the prevalence of in-kind payments, limited opportunities, loose terms of reference for work, transfer of risk to employees and others, in the sector.
What the report said
“Nigeria’s informal sector is largely unregulated, making many malpractices go unnoticed, tucked away from the public discourse, and often without consequence.
“Of the 3,416 respondents surveyed in our study on delayed wages in the informal sector in the country, 40% of the respondents were owed wages while 60% were not owed.
The states with the highest percentages of informal workers who are owed wages are Ondo, Abia, Ebonyi, Plateau, Imo, Bauchi, Enugu, Oyo, Ekiti and Benue. Informal sector workers who responded to our survey were owed salaries in all the states surveyed except for Bayelsa, Sokoto and Yobe.
The reports revealed that states with the highest responses of yes were Ondo (94%), Abia (92%), Plateau (84%) Ebonyi (87%), Imo(80%) Oyo, Bauchi and Enugu (79%)
On months being owed, 43% were owed between 1-3 months, while 15% were owed 7-10 months and 5% being owed 16-20 months salary,” they said.
The major deterrent to placing demand for owed wages/salary according to respondents is a concern with losing out on the good relationship built with their principal/employers. Other deterrents are the prevalence of in-kind payments, limited opportunities, loose terms of reference for work, transfer of risk to employees, parallel earnings outside employees’ salaries, and informal arrangements.
SBM also warns that the unavailability of regulation in the informal sector poses problems for employees, who are most times unaware of labour laws.
“There is the added challenge of a lack of valid contractual agreement between employers and employees, largely because employment relations are brokered and built on the foundation of family or friends, leaving room for abuses by employers and increasing the vulnerability of employees to irregular payments.
“For such abuses to be addressed, labour laws and regulatory bodies would have to be established to ensure that the rights of employees in the informal sector are protected. Even though labour laws exist in Nigeria, they do not appear to be remotely applied to the informal sector, largely because the sector is unsupervised by unions and regulatory bodies,” they added.
In case you missed it
Recall in another report, SBM revealed that up to 98% of Nigerians operating in the informal economy pay taxes daily, with some businesses paying taxes 3 times a day. In Lagos, for instance, some bus drivers pay as much as N3,000 a day in taxes to different groups.