• Inaugurates 30-man tripartite committee
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, kickstarted the new minimum wage process with the formal inauguration of a 30-man National Minimum Wage Committee.
The team which draws representation from the public and private sectors as well as organised labour and other stakeholders is saddled with the responsibility of fashioning out a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
During the inauguration at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari noted that it was the responsibility of government to ensure that workers live above discomfort and enjoy improved living standard
He charged the committee to put into consideration the ability of each tier of government to pay its workers.
According to him, drawing some members of the committee from state governments and the private sector would ensure ease of implementation of the expected minimum wage, as he expressed hope that “the principles of full consultation with social partners and their direct participation would be utilised by the committee,” in accordance with core provisions of the International Labour Organisation Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No.26 (ratified by Nigeria).
Buhari who described the Nigerian worker as a vital element in the growth and development, recalled how a technical committee had earlier been set up following the increase in pump price of petrol in May 2016, to come up with recommendations aimed at cushioning the effects of the price hike on both workers and the citizenry.
He tasked the committee to thoroughly discharge their responsibility with a view to ensuring that the welfare of workers and Nigerians at large is well addressed.
Buhari said eventual government decision after the committee had submitted its report would be transformed into an executive bill that would be sent to the National Assembly for legal backing.
“My hope is that the outcome of the deliberations of the committee would be consensual and generally acceptable. I, therefore, urge you 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 our workforce but the effect on the country’s economy.
“The subject of a national minimum wage for the federation is within the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution (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.
“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 president tasked the committee to complete its assignment and submit its recommendations within a short period to enable the government put in place other necessary machinery for the implementation of a new minimum wage.
The Federal Government team led by Ms Amapple Pepple, has Minister of Lbour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige as deputy and Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule as secretary.
Others members are the ministers, Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita; 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), Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong (North Central) and Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (North West), while the director-general of NGF, A. B. Okauru will be an observer.
President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba leads the workers team which include Peters Adeyemi, Kiri Mohammed, Amechi Asugwuni, Peter Ozo-Eson, while the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by Bobboi Bala Kaigama include Sunday Olusoji Salako, Alade Bashir Lawa and Igwe Achese, president, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).On the employers’ side are the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, Mr. Timothy Olawale (NECA), Mr. Chuma Nwankwo (NECA); Mr. Olubunmi Adekoje, DG, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI); Alhaji Ahmed Ladan Gobir, chairman, Kaduna East Branch, Manufacturers’ Association (MAN), Otunba Francis Oluwagbenro (MAN); Hajia Muheeba Dankaka, president, Kano Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Prince Degun Agboade, president, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).