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FG’s delay in workable minimum wage figure may shock 2019 elections if—NLC
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has revealed that the key problem delaying the work of National Minimum Wage Committee is the inability of the federal government to come up with an acceptable figure by all parties.
Otherwise, the latest stalemate in talks between the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment, and Organised Labour is caused by government’s official delays in coming up with an acceptable minimum wage.
Several labour leaders sighted at the Labour House Abuja expressed fears that if the issue of new minimum wage for Nigerian workers is not settled ahead of the 2019 general elections, it may rock the election.
In an interview with Business Hilights on Tuesday in Abuja, Wabba disclosed that the delay is further frustrating the timely submission of the Committee’s report to President Muhammadu Buhari because parties are yet to agree on a figure which is not forth coming from the government.
It would be recalled that the new minimum wage committee was inaugurated in November 2017 but started its assignment in March 2018, due to logistics reasons.
According to Wabba, while the committee set up on the new minimum wage has concluded its deliberation, the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, told the committee that the federal government needed to consult before coming up with its own figure, a position he said negates an earlier agreement to work within its timeline.
But earlier in Anambra State, the minister told newsmen that state governors were frustrating the committee’s work which the labour unions denied.
Wabba said 21 states actually made presentation to the committee with many quoting figures while some others said they would abide by whatever decision was arrived at.
NLC boss made it clear that the organised labour has called a meeting of all its organs, with a view to informing them of the development, pointing out that a definite position will be announced after the meeting as the new minimum wage is already two years behind scheduled.
He said “If you recall, the new minimum wage committee was inaugurated in November 2017 but started its assignment in March 2018, due to logistics reasons.
“At its inaugural meeting, all parties produced a work plan which spelt out the modus operandi and duration of the work of the committee.
“By the work plan, we were supposed to end our work and submit our report by August 21. Unfortunately, that date fell on a public holiday and so, it was agreed that the September 4 and 5 be used to complete the work of the committee.
“At that meeting, we were able to complete the entire report. But just before we concluded, the minister of Labour said as representative of the federal government, they needed to go and consult before arriving at a figure.
“The federal government came and said they have not finished their consultations and that they needed time to consult. But, it was all of us who took the decision to have a work plan.
“Clearly speaking, they were not prepared to produce a figure by that date. But our report has been completed. What is left is just to agree on a particular figure. All the parameters to be used to arrive at a figure are there.
“I can say clearly that states have sent in memorandum. Infact, 21 states sent in memorandum, with about 12 quoting figures, NECA has submitted a figure, organised labour has submitted a figure. What we thought was that we should be able to complete that assignment by September 5,” Wabba, NLC President noted.