EMT meets on minimum wage next week
Workers in Nigeria will from next week know their fate on the proposed Federal government minimum wage as the National Minimum Wage Committee meet with the Economic Management Team (EMT) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The meeting, BusinessDay gathered from sources at the Presidential Villa, Friday, is expected to review the reports of the National Minimum Wage Committee and cone up with recommendations that will be submitted to President Muhamamdu Buhari.
This is just as the Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, insisted that the new minimum wage policy must “be implemented before the tenure of this administration ends.”
According to Ngige, “Next week we have an economic management team meeting on Tuesday, specially dedicated to the issue of national minimum wage to be chaired by the Vice President. For anybody to say that this government is stalling or playing games will be uncharitable, because, we have done what we are supposed to do”
Ngige however expressed concern over the non-payment of salaries by many state Governors, a situation he described as a major draw back to the implementation of the new minimum wage policy.
He also lamented the inability of some state governors to provide their figures to be included in the debate by the committee negotiating the new minimum wage.
But the Minister however assured that federal government was still working within the timeframe it promised to deliver on a new minimum wage and was not stalling the process as alleged by labour.
According to him, “We have the interest of workers at heart, we have not retrenched anybody, there is no embargo on employment, there is no embargo on promotions, we are paying backlog of promotional arrears, we are backing backlog of transfers and repatriation and the rest of them and we are giving them houses under FISH and the rest of them.”
“So this government is a labour friendly government and we must put smiles on their faces before the next election. We are labour activists, we don’t want to turn our backs on them.”
Former Minister of Housing and member of the committee, Amma Pepple, while speaking with State House Correspondents on Friday, said the minimum wage report will be presented to the President “very soon”.
According to her, “Everything is on course but we need a definite figure from government and of course we have to carry the states along. So, we need those figures so that we can conclude on the figures we include in our report.”
On how soon the new minimum wage will be ready, Pepple said, “This month. At least I expect our report will be ready this month. We are submitting our report to Mr. President this month.”
Ngige had on Thursday accused the organised labour of blackmail the government following a two-week ultimatum given by the latter for the conclusion of negotiation on the matter.
He also accused labour leaders of blackmailing and intimidating government to pass a new minimum wage that it may end up reneging on.
According to Ngige, the organised private sector had initially proposed a figure of N42,000 but later brought it down to N25,000, taking into account the current economic situation, ability to pay and ability to enhance and create new jobs
The organised labour had in May 2016 demanded a pay rise on the current N18,000 national minimum wage to N56, 000. Buhari had in November 2017 inaugurated the National Minimum Wage Committee with a mandate of arriving at a new national minimum.
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