By Ngozi Onyeakusi — The organized labour that called off its scheduled nationwide strike may have a rethink as the Federal Government on Wednesday said the N30,000 minimum wage proposal contained in the report of the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government was still a recommendation and had not been approved.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke with State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, said President Muhammadu Buhari would still study the report presented to him on Tuesday by the Chairman of the committee, Amal Pepple, before taking a decision on it.
Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja, a labour leader, said that the governors would have no choice but to pay any amount signed into law as the new minimum wage.
Ugboaja, the Head of Department of International and Industrial Relation of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), spoke on a television programme in Lagos while reacting to a purported statement that state governors would not pay the N30,000 minimum wage if approved.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that that Ms Ama Peple, the Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Triparitrs Committe, submitted the report of the committee which recommended N30,000 to President Buhari on Tuesday.
The committee, which comprised of officials of government, labour and organised private sector, was set up in November 2017, but strted sitting in February 2018.
It rounded off its sitting on October 5 with labour threatening a nationwide strike following the delay by the government in endorsing the committee’s recommendation.
According to Ugboaja, the issue of the national minimum wage would be an Act of Parliament and not Father Christmas gift from governors.
“Once it becomes a law, it becomes legally binding on employers in the formal sector and government to pay and the Act provides for how and when it is to be reviewed,’’ he said.
Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkinde, Head, Media and Public Affairs of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, had earlier said that the governors were not certain to pay N30,000 minimum wage if approved by the Presidency and signed into law by the National Assembly.
According to Bello-Barkinde, the governors are ready to shift ground from the initial N22,500 agreed to in their last meeting, but not a figure around N30,000 submitted to Buhari by the committee.
He said that the NGF would meet before the end of the month to deliberate on the issue and insisted that payment of any minimum wage was dependent on the resources available to each state.
“There is no how all the states will pay N30,000 because the tripartite committee says so.
“ The governors have made it clear that they can deplore 50 per cent of their resources to payment of salaries, while the remaining 50 per cent will be committed to other areas,’’ he said.
The NGF spokesperson said that labour was making the governors look scandalous as people who were not interested in the welfare of Nigerians and this was not going to help their cause.