THE EDITOR: I saw recently, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, an economist sarcastically applauding the increase in the minimum wage by $2.50.
In fact Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar seems to be in complete agreement that the Government increase is farcical and that it should have been $5, resulting in a $20 minimum wage.
This increase represents a 30 per cent rise. An increase of such magnitude would certainly put the cost of living in a tailspin.
For example, a supermarket owner seeing his wage bill increase from $300,000 to $390,000 would, of necessity, look for some avenue to recoup that huge hike in salary payments. To tag that on to grocery prices would make the same low-income earners whom the wage increase intended to assist of little or no effect.
To make sense of such a large increase workers’ salaries must also increase to nearly that amount and nowhere in TT are workers going to receive a 30 per cent raise.
Economy of scale seems to suggest the Minister of Finance got this one right.
A 16 per cent increase may result in a rise in the cost of living but a 30 per cent as espoused by the Opposition Leader is somewhat reckless and not carefully thought out. A gradual increase in the minimum wage in any economy is always the wiser decision.