9th National Assembly

Punch Newspaper Headline (January 23rd,2019)

  • NLC fumes as council of state fixes minimum wage at N27,000

The National Council of State on Tuesday fixed N27, 000 as the new National Minimum Wage.

The figure is N3, 000 short of the N30, 000 initially recommended by the Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage chaired by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Amma Pepple.

The Pepple committee had submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018 and it spiraled disputes, as the majority of state governors insisted they could only afford N22, 500.

On its part, the Federal Government said it would pay N24,000 at the time, as against organised labour’s insistence that employers must pay the N30,000 recommended by the Pepple committee.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the NCS pegged the minimum wage at N27,000 across the states after reviewing the positions of all the parties.

The private sector is at liberty to pay any amount to workers, so long as it is not below N27,000.

  • Federal Government said it would pay N30,000

But, on its part, the Federal Government said it would pay workers N30,000.

The Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, confirmed the council’s decision to State House correspondents in Abuja as the meeting rose.

He explained that the council approved a periodic review of every five years, while employers with workers fewer than 25 would be exempted.

Ngige stated that with the approval of the N27,000, a bill would be sent to the National Assembly on Wednesday (today) to get the necessary legal backing for the new wage regime.

The minister added that though the National Assembly had said that it would proceed on vacation till after the elections, the relevant committees on wage matters would continue to sit to work on the new wage for urgent passage.

  • Nigeria Labour Congress rejected the N27,000

But the Nigeria Labour Congress has rejected the N27,000 adopted by the National Council of State on Tuesday.

The NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the council has no jurisdiction to determine another amount after a Tripartite Committee had submitted its report.

He said, “It is abysmal of government to be delaying the submission of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly and by wrongfully adopting N27,000 through the council of state.”

Ozo-Eson, however, said the NLC had called an emergency National Executive Council meeting for Friday to weigh on the deadline given to the government within which to submit an executive bill to the National Assembly.

The NLC general secretary added that the Federal Government was only projecting a shutdown of the economy with its latest action.

“This is because workers should not be held responsible for any development after its NEC meeting on Friday,” he said.

Also, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, has rejected a recommendation that the national monthly minimum wage be raised to N27,000 from N18,000, its spokesman, said on Tuesday

The TUC, which represents senior civil servants, said agreeing a minimum wage was a product of negotiations and that N30,000 had been agreed on and not N27,000.