President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, endorsed N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.
Buhari said this while receiving the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The report was submitted by the committee’s chairman, Amal Pepple.
Buhari has also promised to send a bill to the National Assembly to effect the change from N18,000 to N30,000.
Earlier, the tripartite committee on the review of the National Minimum Wage had submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommending N30,000 as the country’s new national minimum wage.
Submitting the report, Ama Pepple, the panel’s chairman said, “While noting the offer of N24,000 by government, the panel recommends N30,000 as the new National Minimum Wage of the country.”
She said the committee has provided a draft law of the new National Minimum Wage for the consideration of the government.
This is even the organised labour unions, Monday, called off the planned nationwide industrial action initially scheduled to commence Tuesday to press home workers’ demand for a new national minimum wage.
The National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, announced the suspension last night in Abuja at the end of the last meeting of the tripartite committee set up to come up with the new minimum wage.
Wabba said the decision to suspend the action was reached after agreements were reached and documents signed.
“Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike action is hereby suspended,” he said.
He said the figure would only be made public after the committee’s report would have been presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by 4.15 p.m on Tuesday.
According to him, only one figure would be presented to the President.
Two union officials and a senior government official confirmed the N30,000 agreement.
The organised labour is angst that in a country where the minimum wage is about $38, law makers earn as much as $65,000 while those in the executive arm earn fat allowances for even extra-curricular activities.
In countries like Libya where minimum wage is $430 (N190, 000), lawmakers earn $3000, while in Luxemburg where minimum wage is $2,500; their lawmakers are paid $7,400.In the United States, a worker is paid $11 per hour, while workers earn $120 in Chad and in Cameroon; minimum wage is $75, which is equivalent to N38, 000.
Recall that during the inauguration of a 30-man National Minimum Wage Committee 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.”