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Labour proposes N400,000 as Nigerian Government inaugurates 37-member Committee on Minimum Wage

Vice-President Kashim Shettima, GCON, in a Group Photograph with Members of the Minimum Wage Committee in the State House, Abuja, FCT

*The Federal Government discloses the decision to constitute the Minimum Wage Committee is based on the need to ensure ‘a decent living wage’ and in compliance with the existing Nigeria’s National Minimum Wage Act of 2019

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government of Nigeria Tuesday, January 30, 2024, inaugurated the 37-man Tripartite Committee to deliberate on the National Minimum Wage (NMW), in the State House, Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports the Committee is mandated to recommend a new National Minimum Wage for the West African country.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Committee in the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Vice-President Kashim Shettima, GCON, urged members to ensure the timely submission of their recommendations for action.

Goni Bukar Aji, a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), chairs the Committee that is composed of members of the Organised Labour, the private sector, Federal and state governments in Nigeria.

Shettima noted the decision to constitute the Minimum Wage Committee is a recognition of the need to ensure a decent living wage and in compliance with the existing National Minimum Wage Act of 2019 which will expire in a few months from now.

Membership of the Committee cuts across the Federal Government, state government, private sector, and Organised Labour.

At the inauguration are some state governors, including Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; Mohammed Bago of Niger State; Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, and Bassey Otu of Cross River State.

Members of the Committee

Among other members of the National Minimum Wage Committee from the Federal Government are Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Representing Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment); Mr. Wale Edun, Minister for Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy; Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, Honourable Minister for Budget Economic Planning; Dr. (Mrs) Yemi Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; Dr. Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary, GSO. OSGF and Ekpo Nta, Esq, Chairman/CEO, NSIWC – Member/Secretary.

From the states of the Federation are Alh. Mohammed Umar Bago, Governor, Niger State-representative from North-Central; Sen. Bala Mohammed, Governor Bauchi State- representative from North-East; Alh. Umar Dikko Radda, Governor Katsina State- representative from North-West; Prof. Charles Soludo, Governor, Anambra State- representative from the South-East; Sen. Ademola Adeleke, Governor, Osun State- representative from South-West; Mr. Otu Bassey Edet, Governor, Cross River State- representative from South-West are part of the committee.

Likewise from the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) are Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, Director-General of NECA; Mr. Chuma Nwankwo; Mr. Thompson Akpabio with also members from the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), including Asiwaju (Dr.) Michael Olawale-Cole, National President; Hon. (Dr.) Ahmed Rabiu, National Vice President and Chief Humphrey Ngonadi (NPOM), National Life President.

The members from the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (NASME) are Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima, President & Chairman of the Council; Hon. Theophilus Nnorom Okwuchukwu, Private Sector representative; Dr. Muhammed Nura Bello, Zonal Vice President, North-West and also from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) are Mrs. Grace Omo-Lamai, Human Resource Director, Nigerian Breweries; Segun Ajayi-Kadir, mni, Director-General, MAN; Lady Ada Chukwudozie, Managing Director, Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited.

From the Organised Labour, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Joe Ajaero, President, NLC; Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, mni; Comrade Prince Adeyanju Adewale; Comrade Ambali Akeem Olatunji; Comrade Benjamin Anthony and Prof. Theophilus Ndukuba.

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) representatives include Comrade (Engr) Festus Osifo, President, TUC; Comrade Tommy Etim Okon, Ph.D., Deputy President I, TUC; Comrade Kayode Surajudeen Alakija, Deputy President II; Comrade Jimoh Oyibo, Deputy President. III; Comrade Nuhu A. Toro, Secretary-General and Comrade Hafusatu Shuaib, Chairperson Women Commission.

Why Organised Labour proposes N400,000 as new Minimum Wage

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress has proposed N400,000 as new minimum wage for Nigerian workers after Tinubu’s government unveils negotiation committee

The Organised Labour said with a living wage of $300 for all workers, the current minimum wage of N30,000 has been rendered inadequate by inflation and the high cost of living in the economy.

The Labour leadership reportedly, had presented the proposal at a meeting of the National Public Service Negotiating Council, barely 24 hours after Vice-President Kashim Shettima had unveiled a tripartite committee for negotiations of a new national minimum wage.

Union representatives also contended that the current wage is no longer sufficient to meet basic human needs, with the high exchange rate and fuel subsidy removal significantly impacting purchasing power of consumers in Nigeria as of now.

Labour said: “As earlier stated, the time to review our Minimum Wage has come, in doing this; we must all agree that the current Minimum Wage of N30,000 has since been eroded by the high exchange rate coupled with the abrupt removal of fuel subsidy which has translated into high cost of living in the country.

“There is no gainsaying that the cost of a bag of rice is far more than the so-called Minimum Wage, and to worsen the situation, the Government is not prompt in the payment of the collectively and freely agreed N35,000 Wage award.”

It also noted: “In light of the above, Labour has proposed a Living Wage of $300 for Nigerian Workers. This is due to the fall in the value of our currency, today if you carry N100,000 to the market you will come back with a leather bag of items.

“We call on Government to immediately pay the arrears of the N35,000 wage award along with the current and expedited action on the process of getting a new living wage to bring succour to the working class people.”

With the official exchange rate of N1,482, the new minimum wage would amount to N444,600 per month for the lowest-paid worker in Nigeria, based exchange rate of the Naira against the dollar as of Tuesday, January 30, 2024, according to report.

Anthony, who was represented by the Secretary of the union, Comrade Boma Mohammed, expressed concern over the non-remittance of third-party deductions, such as cooperative and union dues, causing operational challenges for these organisations. This situation, he said, has led to difficulties in paying staff salaries, pensions, and insurance schemes.

He, therefore, urged the government to promptly release and disburse these funds to alleviate the hardships faced by affected workers.

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