The Federal Government has set January 23 deadline to transmit the N30,000 new minimum wage recommendation by the Tripartite Committee to the National Assembly.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who stateed this after meeting with the leadership of organized labour in Abuja Tuesday, also stated that before transmitting the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly, it had to be taken first to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, National Economic Council, NEC and the National Council of States.
But National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has urged the government to respect the agreed timeline.
Speaking after the marathon meeting with leadership of the organized labour, Senator Ngige said: “We have made progress. It has been difficult to arrive at a date because there are processes to follow on the bill.
“We have to go to the Federal Executive Council with a council memo on the bill. After that, we will go to the National Economic Council and the Council of State.
“We can control the Federal Executive Council date, the same with NEC, but for the National Council of State, the President has to look at his own time-table and we inform past Heads of State and Justice of the Federation.
“This can take two weeks but we are trying to see if we can accommodate all these meetings by next week because we cannot do Council of State meeting again this week. Immediately after that meeting (Council of State), we will transmit,” the Minister had assured the labour leaders.
However, when the meeting reconvened and after several hours of deliberations, the minister said, “As for the transmission of the executive bill to the National Assembly, the government will religiously implement all the processes that will enable us transmit this bill within the stipulated time.
“We have a target time of January 23, 2018 and we hope that all things being equal, government will be able to do so. We will take all statutory meetings of the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council and the National Council of State meetings to enable us transmit the bill on the new national minimum wage.
“I thank the labour unions for their understanding and appeal to them that the threats should come down. Protests are no longer necessary.”
On his part, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC president, said, “We thank the role of the minister of Labour and Employment to get this process to where it is. We have made a lot of sacrifice and commitment spending three days on meetings on this issue.
“We have finally been able to reach a clear understanding on the processes and timeline for this bill to be transmitted. We are committed to the process and hope that the timeline will be respected. We will put this across to our organs and give them all the details contained in the Memorandum of understanding.
“You will recall that our demand is for the bill to be transmitted to NASS. We want a firm commitment so that we don’t come round a cycle. We want the agreement to be documented and signed by government representatives. With that, we can follow up on the process hoping.
“This thing has been on the table for more than two years and having submitted the report, we expect that the bill should have been submitted. The NASS will be back on January 16 from their recess so on or before January 23, the bill must have been transmitted.
“We know that the NASS are desirous of making sure that workers in Nigeria have decent wage, they will also be able to do the needful. We will shift our lobby to the NASS because once the bill is enacted; the money will be in the pocket of the workers.
“Issues of industrial relations are always addressed at the round table. We have been diligent in the whole process and workers have been patient, clearly we have carried them along, that is why whenever we want them to be around, they are always around.”