President Joseph Kabila signed a decree raising the daily minimum wage on Wednesday. The new minimum wage across the country will be set to 1,120 Congolese Francs ($2US) starting June 1, 2008 and will go up to 1,680 ($3US) on January 1, 2009.
Coming on the eve of May Day, the hike was welcomed with muted enthusiasm by some employees. The government has never been able to enforce minimum wage laws. Some employees agree to work for less than the official minimum wage because they fear they may get fired if they requested more money.
The Federation of Congolese Employers (FEC) also expressed reservations about the hike. It noted that employers are already dealing with an economic slump due to the rise of oil and food prices. The FEC asked the government to lower the tax burden on employers in order to offset the cost of the hike.