The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has indicated that work on the new wage structure may take longer than expected as most critical groups in the process, are yet to submit their proposal on a new wage system.
The minister revealed, while having a chat with reporter in Anambra State, that there will be no agreement without the proposal of the state governments.
Naija News recall that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Ngige as the deputy chairman of the 30-man Tripartite Committeeon on the minimum wage, while a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Ama Pepple, is the chairman.
The committee members consist of six governors from the six geopolitical zone, practitioner drawn from the public sector (federal and state), the private sector and the labour union.
Employers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association had rejected the proposal of N56,000 suggested by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
According to Ngige, the governor refusal to submit a proposal for the new salary structure was the cause of delay for the conclusion of the work of the Tripartite Commmitte.
“I am the deputy chairman (of the committee); I drive it. We have a timetable and we will finish everything about it this end of August, but it is not attainable anymore because even in the committee we have not all finished dotting all the i’s and agreeing on a figure
“We couldn’t agree on a figure because of two reasons, partly the state governors have not come up with a figure and the state governors are a critical constituent of this discussion. They have six governors in the committee, one from each geo-political zone”
“So the Governors Forum has not come up with their figure. They say they are still working on it. That was the last submission they made to us and the federal government team. We are working through the Economic management team.”
“The Economic management team dictates the economy of the country and they will now take whatever the governors say and fine-tune with that of the federal government, so that is where we are”
“The national minimum wage tripartite committee is still at work, and is until it brings out its figures, brings out its recommendations pertaining to the national minimum wage. It is only after that that a Bill can be sent to the National Assembly for processing and be sent to Mr. President for assent and for it to become a National Minimum Wage Act.” he said.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum Chairman and Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari, after the forum met, stated that that governors have not yet agreed on a new salary structure.
“We have a committee of six which represents us in discussions in the committee headed by the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige.
“The committee has yet to give us the final report. They have given us an interim report that at the Federal Government level, over 82 per cent is being spent on overheads which cannot move the country forward in terms of infrastructure development and development that we need now.
“So, on our own part, we are saying we are going to look at how our income is taken from our final account from 14 years ago so that we can come up and stay in the middle.” he said.
He added: “I don’t think you people voted us only to pay salaries. You are looking for good roads, electricity, education and others. So, we can’t do magic. It’s only when we have the funds that we can do all those things.”
The Minister hinted further that the increase in the allowance of NYSC members has not be concluded.
“We’ve not concluded because no recommendation has come to the Federal Executive Council.
“As a matter of fact, some ministries, Youth and Sports, Labour, Women Affairs and Budget and Planning have been asked to make input on the proposed allowances of the NYSC members.” he said.