• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Tinubu to announce a new minimum wage on Workers’ Day

Democracy Day:  Tinubu vows to protect rights of every Nigerian

There are indications that President Bola Tinubu may announce a new minimum wage on May 1, to commemorate the International Labour Day, and its implementation backdated to April.

According to a report by Saturday Punch, the National Minimum Wage Committee was making efforts to finalize negotiations with regard to the new rate so the president can make the announcement of the new wage during his Workers’ Day address.

Minimum wage is the lowest amount of money that employers are legally required to pay their employees for the period of work.

Nigeria’s minimum wage has been N30,000 since 2018 with the labour union demanding an increase, especially with the growing economic hardship.

A member of the National Minimum Wage Committee who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the committee would be meeting next week to collate all reports from the zonal public hearings upon which subsequent actions would be discussed.

“Our target is to ensure that Mr President announces the minimum wage by the 1st of May, which is the Workers’ Day, for it to take effect from April. So, we are working to meet the timeline,” the member said.

The member added that the new rate is unlikely to kick start by March ending because there was still a long way to go in arriving at an acceptable minimum wage for the country.

“We have not got to the negotiation point yet. When you finish with the zones, it is the aggregate of what you collect from the zones that will determine the direction of the main committee.

“Now that we have finished with the zones, when the committee meets, it will collate all the positions of the zones and committee members,” the source stated.

“The positions of the NLC, TUC, NECA (the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association) and the government will be looked at. Then, we will look at the aggregate, find a percentage, and arrive at what will be agreeable,” the source added.

The committee member noted that some adjustments will be made after which the committee will have a private meeting with the president and state governors so a resolution could be made. The source added that NECA will also be involved in the process, noting that “it is not a one-stop affair.”

According to the report, the minister of Information and National Orientation, Idris Mohammed, was unreachable, while Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, said he was not so conversant with the internal deliberations of the committee, but affirmed that talks were ongoing among the committee members who, he noted, were cognizant of the urgency of their assignment.

However, a presidential aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tinubu might not wait for May 1 to announce the new minimum wage if the committee was able to complete its assignment as scheduled, noting that ordinarily, the new wage should come into effect on April 1.

“I don’t think the government will be able to wait until May 1 before announcing the minimum wage. The law says it should be concluded by early April. If the parties agree, why do they have to wait to make the announcement? Because they are negotiating and the law says negotiations should be completed by April,” the aide said.

Meanwhile, the oraginsed labour comprising the National Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have warned the state governors that failure to fully implement the new minimum wage may lead to a prolonged industrial action, resulting in a social crisis.

The labour had said the current N30,000 minimum wage was not realistic, citing the stifling economic crisis which has seen the headline inflation of the country hit a 27-year  high of 31.70 percent in February from 29.90 in January.

In January, the Federal Government inaugurated the tripartite committee responsible for deliberating on the national minimum wage which was inaugurated by Vice President Kashim Shettima. A 37-member panel was constituted at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja.

Comprising representatives of the federal and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour, the committee’s mandate is to propose a revised national minimum wage for the nation.

During zonal public hearings in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, and Abuja, workers in the North-West requested N485,000; North-East, N560,000; North-Central, N709,000 (NLC) and N447,000 (TUC); South-West, N794,000; South-South, N850,000; and South-East, N540,000 by the NLC and N447,000 by the TUC.

However, the Adamawa and Bauchi state governments suggested N45,000 as the new minimum wage.

The NLC had  on Friday said governors who fail to implement the new minimum wage when it becomes a law would be breaking the law, warning that it was working towards ensuring that tougher sanctions would be meted on such governors.