The National Council of State has recommended a new monthly minimum wage of N27,000 — a figure N3,000 short of the demand by organised labour, led by the NIgeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The body made the recommendation at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday — the first in the year and only the third in the current reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, said the N27,000 was for workers in states and the private sector, but the recommendation for federal workers was N30,000.

The proposal, he said, will cover employers of labour with a minimum of 25 workers adding that a bill would be transmitted to the National Assembly for that purpose before close of business on Wednesday.

While presenting the 2019 approrpiation bill to the National Assembly, Buhari had passed up the opportunity to definitely endorse or reject calls by organised labour for the implementation of N30,000 as national minimum wage.

Instead, he said he would refer the proposal to a technical committee to work out the challenges around the labour’s demands.

“I will be sending a bill to the National Assembly,” he had said.

“However, in order to avoid a fiscal crisis with the Federal Government as well as the states, it is important to devise ways to ensure that its implementation does not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.

“I am, accordingly, setting up a high-powered technical committee to advise on ways of funding an increase in the minimum wage and the attendant wage adjustment without having to resort to additional borrowings.

“The work of this technical committee will be the basis of a finance deal, which will be submitted to the National Assembly alongside the minimum wage bill. In addition, the technical committee will recommend modalities for the implementation of the new minimum wage in such a way as to prevent its inflationary impact as well as ensure that its introduction does not lead to job losses.”

 

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