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Economy: Why State Governors reject N60,000 Minimum Wage as ‘not sustainable’ for subnational governments ─NGF

Nigeria Governors' Forum

*The Organised Labour makes a counteroffer of N250,000 as the Federal Government of Nigeria and Organised Private Sector have proposed new National Minimum Wage of N62,000 from previous N60,000, which State Governors still maintain is ‘not sustainable and cannot fly’ at the subnational levels 

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have increased their offer for the new National Minimum Wage to N62,000 from the earlier N60,000.

ConsumerConnect reports both the government and the OPS arrived at and offered the figure following several hours of meeting with other stakeholders on the new wage Friday, June 7, 2024.

This position reportedly brings to an end the lingering deliberations on the new Minimum Wage by the Tripartite Committee, which the Federal Government had set up January 2024, to include the OPS and State Governors.

The recommendations will be forwarded to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is expected to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly (NASS), in Abuja, FCT, for legislative action.

Disagreeing with the Federal Government’s latest offer of N62,000, the Organised Labour, represented by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) –is, however, proposing N250,000, a clear shift from its earlier N494,000 demand as the new Minimum Wage for workers in the West African country.

Hitherto, the Nigerian Government and the Organised Private Sector had viewed Labour’s proposed N494,000 as unrealistic and not sustainable in regard to the socio-economic realities and productivity level of the country, but the Labour felt the offer of N60,000 was not considerate as far as the workers are concerned.

That was the reason the Organised Labour, at the expiration of an ultimatum it issued that by May 31, the unions would embark on strike Monday, June 3.

The Labour Unions made good their threat between Monday, Jun3 and Tuesday, June 4 as their industrial action paralysed economic activities, businesses and organisations across Nigeria.

The Organised Labour, Tuesday announced the suspension of the strike after the Federal Government assured them of returning to negotiations with a view to jacking up the Minimum Wage to an amount bigger than N60,000.

The suspension of the strike allowed for resumption of negotiations which continued until this night.

Labour won’t accept ‘meagre addition’ to N60,000, says Osifo, TUC President

With the government and the Organised Private Sector just adding N2,000 to the earlier N60,000 rejected by Labour, it is left to be seen if the new proposal will be accepted after the workers earlier vowed not to accept any lean addition by the government.

Festus Osifo, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), while featuring on a Channels TV programme Tuesday, hours after the Organised Labour suspended its industrial action commenced from Monday.

Osifo had stated: “At the meeting on Friday, they (the Tripartite Committee) said they would not add anything more to the ₦60,000 but in the meeting of yesterday (Monday), Mr President was able to commit to doing what is more than ₦60,000,” Osifo said.

When asked whether Labour would accept a few thousand naira additions to the last offer of the tripartite committee, the TUC boss said, “No, we also told them that it’s not that we’d get to the table and you start adding ₦1, ₦2, ₦3,000 as you were doing and we got some good guarantees here and there that they would do something good.”

Even N60,000 Minimum Wage still unsustainable, say State Governors

Prior to the government’s announcement of the new offer of N62,000 as Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers, the 36 state governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) had declared that the initial N60,000 Minimum Wage proposal “is not sustainable and cannot fly.”

Mrs. Halima Ahmed, Acting Director, Media Affairs and Public Relations of the Forum, in a statement disclosed that if the amount is allowed to fly, several states of the Federation simply would use all their monthly allocations from the Federation Account to pay workers’ salaries and would have nothing left for any development and infrastructural project purposes.

The governors, earlier this week, had appealed to members of the Tripartite Committee to agree on a Minimum Wage that would be “fair and sustainable”.

Mrs. Ahmed said in the statement: “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is in agreement that a new Minimum Wage is due. The Forum also sympathises with Labour unions in their push for higher wages.

“However, the Forum urges all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involve consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.”

The Forum also noted: “The NGF cautions parties in this important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it; any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

“All things considered, the NGF holds that the N60,000 minimum wage proposal is not sustainable and cannot fly.”

The State Governors explained: “It will simply mean that many states will spend all their FAAC allocations on just paying salaries with nothing left for development purposes.

“In fact, a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month. We do not think this will be in the country’s collective interest, including workers.

“We appeal that all parties involved, especially the Labour unions, consider all the socioeconomic variables and settle for an agreement that is sustainable, durable, and fair to all other segments of the society who have a legitimate claim to public resources.”

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