Buhari inaugurates minimum wage panel
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday inaugurated the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Noting that the last minimum wage instrument has expired, the President said the government’s move now is to ensure a fair and decent living wage for Nigerian workers.
He said: “You are all aware that during the period following the increase in Petrol Pump Price in May 2016, a Technical Committee was established to examine and make recommendations to government on the measures to be adopted to cushion the envisaged painful effects of the increase on workers and the Nigerian populace at large.
“During the deliberations of the Technical Committee which comprised government and organized labour, the need for the review of the national minimum wage was highlighted and recommendation to set up a committee to look into the level of minimum wage was made accordingly. I am glad that the recommendation is being acted upon today and we can all acknowledge that this is in line with our democratic process. I wish to thank all those who participated in that exercise.”
He stressed that the scope of the membership of the new national minimum wage committee showed that it encompassed all stakeholders.
The President also hoped that the outcome of the deliberations of the Committee would be consensual and generally acceptable.
He urged the members to amicably consider the issue of a national minimum wage and all matters that are ancillary to it with thoroughness and concern not only for the welfare of the work-force but the effect on the country’s economy.
Buhari added: “The subject of a National Minimum Wage for the Federation is within the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). Accordingly, we should aim to go above the basic Social Protection Floor for all Nigerian workers based on the ability of each tier of government to pay.
“I say this because minimum wage is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for putting in his or her labour and as such should be anchored on Social Justice and Equity.
“Government’s decision after considering your final recommendation will be sent as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for it to undergo appropriate legislative scrutiny before passage into law.
“As is evident by the membership of the Committee, state governors and private sector employers are part of this process. This will ensure ease of implementation of a new minimum wage nationwide.
“I am hopeful that the principles of full consultation with Social Partners and their direct participation would be utilized by the Committee, bearing in mind the core provisions of the International Labour Organisation Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No.26 (ratified by Nigeria).
“Accordingly, conditions of genuine Social Dialogue should prevail in the spirit of Tripartism and Collective Bargaining Agreements. I therefore enjoin you all to collectively bargain in good faith, have mutual recognition for each other and always in a spirit of give and take.
“The Committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations as soon as possible to enable other requisite machinery to be set in motion for implementation of a new national minimum wage.”
According to a statement signed by the deputy director (Press) at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowokere, former head of service of the federation, Ama Pepple, is to chair the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee
The federal government team will be led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who is deputy chairman, while the Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule, will serve as Secretary.
Others in the federal government team are the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udo Udo Udoma; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita and Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Roy Ugo.
A team from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) includes Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola (South West), Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha (South East), Gombe State governor, Hassan Dankwambo (North East), Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike (South -South) and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong ( North Central).