NIGERIAN FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, FEC, meeting, Wednesday, in Abuja, approved and directed full payment of new minimum wage to Nigerian workers, effective, April 18, 2019. Deadline to complete full payments is December 2019. Figures approved by the federal government, are benchmarks for state governments, being federal law. It would be forwarded to state governments to guide implementation.
Government approval followed agreement reached between organized labour and federal government, on consequential adjustments on the minimum wage for its workers. Grade level 07 will earn 23.2 per cent increase; grade level 08 will earn 20 per cent; grade level 09 will earn 19 per cent; grade levels 10 to 14 will earn 16 per cent; and levels 15-17 will earn 14 per cent increases in their salaries.
Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, briefed State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting. He said FEC directed National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, to effect the payments, including arrears owed workers, reflecting the consequential adjustments. Government settled for April 18, date of implementation, been the date the new minimum wage was signed into law by President Buhari.
Ngige said: “FEC also approved for us that the financial implication is worked out and the payment should be completed in or before December 2019. Council further directed that the minister of finance budget and national planning, through the office of the accountant general of the federation should affect all these payments before 31 December 2019.
“Council further directed that the National Income and Wages Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustment table down to the states and local government as an advisory document for their information and guidance for their national joint public service status in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law.”
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed, at Senate and House of Representatives public hearing on 2020 budget, that government will spend N4.88 trillion in actualizing the new national minimum wage, and other personnel costs in 2020 fiscal year.
Organized labour had threatened nationwide strike from October 16, if government failed to reconvene the committee negotiating the consequential adjustments on the new minimum wage
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, met with Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, JNPSNC-Trade Union Side, in Abuja, and warned that labour would not guarantee industrial peace in the country if their demands were not met by government.
In response to labour’s threat for nationwide strike – indeed, about the eve of commencement of the strike, federal government delegation, led by Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, swung into action negotiating with organized labour. After few days and long hours of strong bargaining, organized labour and government reached acceptable agreement on the consequential adjustments on he new minimum wage
The last six months, has seen Nigerian public sector workers venting their frustrations on government’s unwillingness to reach mutual and workable agreement with organized labour on the new minimum wage signed into law by President Buhari in April 209.
Having successfully weathered the minimum wage storm, it is assumed settled, that government will honour its pledge; stay on its decision to pay the national new minimum wage with effect from April 18; and a conclusive date of December 2019.
As demonstrated in government and organized labour cordial relationship while dealing with issues on the new minimum wage, answers to Nigeria’s problems are in its doorstep. Only, however, if leaders would engage in mutual dialogue in resolving issues in the country.