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Nigeria may raise Minimum Wage to N200,000 for workers –Report

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR

*Governor (Prof.) Charles Soludo of Anambra State has been mandated to chair a Technical Working Group to resolve the workers’ remuneration-related issues on the National Minimum Wage and its various dimensions  in the Nigerian economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the demand for a pay rise by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress (TUC) amid the discontinuation of petrol subsidy, there are strong indications that the Federal Government is favourably disposed to raising the country’s Minimum Wage to about N200,000 per month.

ConsumerConnect learnt that the State Governors, however, are urging for caution in this regard.

Governor (Prof.) Charles Soludo of Anambra State has been mandated to chair a Technical Working Group (TWG) to resolve the workers’ remuneration-related issues and its various dimensions in the Nigerian economy.

The matter, a source stated, was discussed at the June National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, and Salaries, Incomes & Wages Commission also made a presentation on how the Federal Government could meet the demand of N200,000 per month Minimum Wage.

Nonetheless, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is specifically and personally convinced that the demand of the organised labour is not unrealistic pointing to his campaign promises as a proof of his readiness to handle the challenge, according to report.

It is also noted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president-elect on Workers’ Day May 1 this year had said “in the Nigeria, I shall have the honour and privilege to lead from May 29, workers will have more than a minimum wage.

“You will have a living wage to have a decent life and provide for your families.”

At the last NEC meeting which the President inaugurated in June, the Salaries & Wages Commission costed the financial implications of the said Minimum Wage increase, and indicated how the Federal Government could pay it to the workers with a certain recommendation, that it was well within the capacity of the Federal Government to make it happen, report said.

Governors ask questions on new wage increase proposal

Still at the June NEC meeting, the state governors who are also members of the Council  reportedly raised questions over the proposal.

Leading the governors at the meeting was Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Soludo, who contended that before adopting the presentation to significantly raise the National Minimum Wage, it would be important for NEC to first understand where the money would come from, how much would come and what states would get.

Planning and meeting workers’ wage expectations

Part of the expectations and planning is that with the new foreign exchange (Forex), policy more cash would be available to be shared by the federal and states governments under Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) monthly distribution.

From their discussion, it was observed there would be enough surplus cash to enable the significant raising of the minimum wage from N30,000 to N100,000 monthly, sources close to the meeting said.

Similarly, the savings from the fuel subsidy would further mean more cash inflow to the federation account.

At the June NEC meeting, a sub-committee was formed to review the situation as was publicly announced, composed of governors led by Kebbi State Governor with six other governors among the members.

They are the governors of Anambra, Benue, Kaduna, Bauchi, Cross River and Oyo states with each representing the six geopolitical zones of the Nigerian Federation.

In the sub-committee are also the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) and the representative of NNPCL. Others included representatives from the organised labour (TUC and NLC) and Ms. Rukayyat El-Rufai, according to a statement from the Office of the Vice President who is the Chairman of NEC.

The sub-committee at its meeting soon after the NEC, June 2023, formed a Technical Working Group (TWG) with Governor Soludo as Chairman to interrogate the issues around raising the Minimum Wage,  understanding that it is both the Federal and state governments and not just the Federal Government that would be responsible for the payment of the new Minimum Wage.

Under Soludo’s leadership, the TWG is said to have met at least three times June 24, 27 and 30 respectively.

In one of its major resolutions the TWG resolved that negotiations with labour must be two-tracked between the federal government in one hand and the state governments in another hand.

It was further learnt the NEC, later this month, would meet to receive the report of the sub-committee and take a final decision on the new National Minimum Wage.

This decision will then be forwarded to the President as an advisory, report noted.

Besides , sources intimated what is most likely is that at the very least Federal Government workers would be receiving the huge Minimum Wage increase, while the Soludo TWG would determine the fate of the workers in the state governments’ employ.

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