Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, James Ojo, Abuja and Gilbert Ekezie
One month after President Muhammadu Buhari, signed the N30,000 minimum wage bill into law, there are indications that workers will have to wait for a while before receiving the new wage.
Hinting at a delay in implementation of the new wage regime, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said the modalities for implementation would be first articulated by a Federal Government committee, inaugurated yesterday by the Secretary to the Government of Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
Ngige, who spoke on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, yesterday, indicated that modalities and template for the implementation of the minimum wage were still being fine-tuned.
He said there were still processes and procedures that the new wage would undergo before its implementation, even though it had been passed and signed into law.
“It is a whole process and the Salary and Wages Commission will do its job before implementation,” the minister said, adding that those at the lowest cadre of employment, whether in the public or private sector, would earn N30,000 as the law provided.
He however said, that for the cadre of workers already earning above the minimum wage, there would be a consequential adjustment from the top.
“What government is doing now is to work out its implementation because the least paid worker in Nigeria must earn N30,000 monthly, and we must lay the foundation for consequential adjustment for other levels,” he explained.
“To say when the implementation will start, no, it could be next week, a month or two weeks, I cannot say now; all I can say is that the lowest worker will collect N30,000 as wages per month.”
Ngige assured that no worker will be owed because payment will be calculated from the day the president signed the bill into a law of the federation, which means arrears will be paid based on the new minimum wage.
In a related development, the federal and state governments have been called upon to ensure the immediate payment of the newly agreed minimum wage to Nigerian workers.
Archbishop of Lagos Province of the African Church, Most Rev. Julius Oludotun Ogunseye, made the call at a briefing to mark the 2nd biannual congress of Lagos Province of the church, themed, “In Him, We Have Our Redemption”, that ended at the Bethlehem Cathedral, Ebute Meta, on Sunday.
He said since the parties involved have resolved on the amount at after series of negotiations, there is no need to delay it.
Ogunseye explained that the immediate compliance with payment of the wage by both the federal and state governments, will bring reprieve to Nigerian workers.
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who inaugurated the committee urged it to negotiate the consequential adjustment in salaries arising from the new national minimum wage. The committee is chaired by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, with the SGF as the alternate chairman.
Members of the committee from the government side are the ministers of Labour and Employment, Budget and National Planning, Education, Health and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Others are Director General, Budget Office of the Federation; Secretary, Federal Judicial Service Commission; Secretary, National Assembly Service Commission, and Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission who is to serve as member/secretary.
On the side of the trade unions, 10 representatives have been nominated by the Joint National Public Service Negotiation Council as members of the committee.