“Why was the minimum wage rate delayed for 8 years?”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Professor Biman Prasad has questioned the Opposition on the delay that took them almost eight years to introduce the minimum wage rate in 2014.

Responding to criticisms about the new national minimum wage, Prof Prasad highlighted that it was initially set at $2 an hour and later increased to $2.32, $2.68, and eventually $4. He noted that the previous administration had announced this four-phase increase just before the elections.

“We’re raising the minimum wage rate to $5 based on a comprehensive consultation review by a panel of experts who have conducted thorough analysis and consultations with employers, unions, and other stakeholders,” he stated.

“We’re implementing this in two phases to give some employers time to adjust,” he added.

Prof Prasad pointed out that in the last 18 months, unions have already been negotiating for better conditions. He referenced international evidence, including from organizations like the IMF, indicating that countries where unions and employee rights are suppressed see workers suffer in terms of pay.

“If workers had been accorded their rights over the years, such problems would not be an issue,” he said. “That’s what this Government is trying to correct.”

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