Wednesday, 8 November 2017

FG Set to Deliberate on N56,000 Minimum Wage

ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the Federal Government candidates for the proposed audit of the National Minimum Wage, Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said.FG Set to Delibrate on N56,000 Minimum Wage

Senator Ngige who uncovered this to State House reporters after a meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the Committee will soon be introduced.

Nigige, told journalists that he was at the State House to brief President Buhari on happenings in his ministry, even as he enthused that the Federal Government has made an extraordinary effort in creating jobs for the masses.

As indicated by him, from the beginning of the administration, President Buhari guaranteed to address issues on the minimum wage, including that with the approval of members from the Committee, the date for the introduction of the panel would be determined soonest when members of the organised labour come back from the meeting of the Labor Governing Board in Geneva, Switzerland. 

He stated, "When we came to control in 2015, there was a minimum wage permitted by law, and by May 2016, we now had a deregulation in the oil business and costs of petroleum products went up and we began talks with the organised Labor.

"One of the understandings was that the issue would be attend to. The old law lapsed last year August and we are presently empaneling another national minimum wage committee.

"I have cleared the meetings with the president today and when the Labor members return from the Labor Governing Board meeting in Geneva, we will choose an agreement date with the governors since it is a tripartite advisory group including government and states, the private sector – National Employment Consultative Agency (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). These are the arms that will be involved. Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), their affiliates have done their nominations. What we are now trying to finetune is the date for inauguration.”

The Minister said discussion with the affected parties would decide whether the N56,000 minimum wage being demanded by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, will be achievable, adding that, various jobs had been created by the agricultural policy of this government and that between five to seven million jobs have so far been created.

He said, “This is the first major opportunity we had to brief Mr. President especially as we had a harvest of strikes in September. So, we had to look at where we are and also look at where we are in terms of job creation, Labour administration and the issue of national minimum wage, which Labour has been asking the government to set in motion the process.

“We promised jobs but what has happened is that people tried to quantify jobs in terms of white collar jobs for graduates from universities, polytechnic but they don’t want to look at the blue collar jobs. Agriculture and agric chains alone have created more than 5-7 Million jobs. Talk in terms of rice. From rice tilling, harvesting, sending to the paddies, mills, and even where people are making the jut bags, transportations, people are getting jobs. So, that value chain alone from agric is enormous.

“Take the N-power, we have created millions of jobs from here. Skill acquisition from the NDE and other agencies of government, jobs are being created. We give them tools as plumbers, electricians ,cosmetologists, shoe makers, tilers and several other areas. We have created several jobs.”

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