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EXCLUSIVE: FG proposes N54,000 as new minimum wage.

21st May 2024

President Bola Tinubu

Following the walkout by the Organised Labour comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress during the last meeting with the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage after the proposed N48,000 as minimum wage by the Federal Government, our correspondent learned that the government has now upped it to N54,000.

A highly reliable source within the meeting, which is currently ongoing, disclosed this to our correspondent in Abuja.

“The Federal Government has now proposed the sum of N54,000,” the reliable source said.

Though it is not clear whether Labour would accept this offer, reports states that the FG’s proposal is a far cry from the N615,000 proposed by the organized Labour.

The National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, insisted on N615,000 minimum wage, arguing that the amount was arrived at after an analysis of the current economic situation and the needs of an average Nigerian family of six.

He blamed the government and the OPS for the breakdown in negotiation, saying, “Despite earnest efforts to reach an equitable agreement, the less than reasonable action of the Government and the Organised Private Sector has led to a breakdown in negotiations.”

But speaking on behalf of the OPS, the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, described unions’ walkout when negotiation had not started as unfortunate.

The NECA DG admonished the union leaders to reconsider their position and return to the negotiation table in the interest of their members and national development.

However, Ajaero justified their decision to abandon the negotiation, saying, “The government’s proposal of a paltry N48,000 as the minimum wage does not only insult the sensibilities of Nigerian workers but also falls significantly short of meeting our needs and aspirations.

“Though it is worth noting that even the least paid workers in the private sector receive N78,000 as clearly stated by the OPS, highlighting the stark disparity between the proposed minimum wage and prevailing standards further demonstrating the unwillingness of employers and Government to faithfully negotiate a fair national minimum wage for workers in Nigeria.’’

He accused the government of failing to provide data to support its offer, noting that this undermined the credibility of the negotiation.

“Furthermore, the government’s failure to provide any substantiated data to support their offer exacerbates the situation. This lack of transparency and good faith undermines the credibility of the negotiation process and erodes trust between the parties involved.

The NLC president noted that the unions remained committed to fighting for the rights and interests of Nigerian workers.

He also called on the government to reconsider its position and come to the negotiation table with “clear hands that reflect the true value of the contributions made by Nigerian workers to the nation’s development and the objective socioeconomic realities that confront not just Nigerian workers but Nigerians today as a result of the policies of the Federal Government.”

President Tinubu, through Vice President Kashim Shettima, on January 30, 2024, inaugurated the 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage to come up with a new minimum wage ahead of the expiration of the current N30,000 wage on April 18.

The panel, whose membership includes federal and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour, will recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.

During the panel’s inauguration, Shettima urged the members to “speedily” reach a resolution and submit their reports early.

“This timely submission is crucial to ensure the emergence of a new minimum wage,” Shettima said.

In furtherance of its assignment, a zonal public hearing was held simultaneously on March 7 in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, and Abuja.

The NLC and the TUC in different states proposed various figures as a living wage, referencing the current economic crunch and the high costs of living.

In their different proposals on the minimum wage, the NLC members in the South-West states demanded N794,000 as the TUC suggested N447,000.

At the North-Central zonal hearing in Abuja, the workers demanded N709,000 as the new national minimum wage, while their counterparts in the South-South clamoured for N850,000.

In the North-West, N485,000 was proposed, while the South-East stakeholders demanded N540,000 minimum wage.

But organised labour settled for N615,000 as a living wage.



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