Wednesday, 30 May 2018

We Cannot Pay New Minimum Wages By Septenber 2018 As Earlier Envisaged...FG

A new national minimum wage will not materialize  by the end of September as envisaged, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said.

The September date was just a date to conclude negotiation on minimum wage, Ngige said while speaking with journalists in Abuja yesterday.

Outlining the work ahead Ngige said: “The committee on the new National Minimum wage is expected to conclude its work by the end of September and present its report to the government for deliberation and approval.” He also said it would be tabled the National Council of State before an executive bill is sent to the national Assembly on the issue.

He pointed out that the capacity to pay by employers was also paramount in the deliberations on the minimum wage.

He said it was for this reason that the committee embarked on zonal public hearing across the country in order to get the input of all those concerned including state governments and the organised private sector.

It was in the course of the zonal public hearings that many state governments made different submissions ranging from N22, 000 to N58, 000 monthly from the current monthly wage of N18,000.

The governors, he said, were also of the belief that for the new minimum wage to become effective, the current revenue allocation formula will have to be reviewed in favour of the states and local government.

He said some other states are also of the view that the minimum wage should be maintained at the current N18, 000 in view of the inability of some states to pay the current wages. 

He said even though it was not an easy task, the committee was making progress in its assigned responsibility, pointing out that it was in order to carry everybody, including the states and private sector along, that six governors were elected to be members of the committee as well as representatives of the organised private sector.

On the threat of non teaching staff of universities to resume their suspended strike as a result of government’s failure to honour the terms of their agreement, the Minister said government was sourcing the N6 billion needed to pay them their earned allowances as contained in the agreement.

He said that about 95 percent of agreements currently being paraded by trade unions in the country were signed before the Buhari government came into office in 2015, adding that most of such agreements had no timeline for implementation.

He also said many of the agreements signed by the last government were not implementable because of the amount involved.

He said what is important in all collective bargaining agreement is the ability to pay what is being demanded and what is agreed upon.

He appealed to striking health workers to return to work while negotiations continue on their demands. He added that the delay in the implementation of their signed agreement was as a result of failure of the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission to defend the two different figures presented to a government high powered committee.

He said the committee had directed the commission and the Federal Ministry of Health to recompile the figures for onward submission to the committee for deliberation

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