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NLC vehemently rejects N27,000 minimum wage fixed by National Council of State, says FG is inviting a shutdown of the economy

Council of State meeting on Tuesday

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

The new amount recommended by the National Council of State is N3,000 less that the initial N30,000 agreed by the Tripartite Committee led by Ms. Amma Pepple, a former Head of Service of the Federation.

The Tripartite Committee had few months ago following the conclusion of its negotiations on the minimum wage, submitted a report recommending N30,000 to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Nigerian Governors however rejected the N30,000 recommendation, saying that it can only pay the said amount if workers would be sacked massively in their respective states.

The governors had earlier proposed to pay N22,500, saying that was what they could afford due to lack of enough funds.

The National Council of State which comprises of the President; the Vice President; all former Presidents and Head of States; former Chief Justices of Nigeria; President of the Senate; Speaker of the House; all State Governors; and the Attorney General of the Federation; on Tuesday fixed the minimum wage at N27,000 after reviewing the situations.

Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, who spoke to journalists after the meeting, stated that with the approval of the N27,000 minimum wage, a bill would be sent to the National Assembly on Wednesday.

He noted that although the lawmakers would soon proceed on vacation till after the elections, relevant committees on wage matters would continue to however work on the new wage bill.

“We have held a series of consultations starting from the inauguration of the tripartite committee in November 2018, to the Federal Executive Council, the National Economic Council and finally today, the Council of State and these three organs have permitted the President now to transmit to the National Assembly the new minimum wage bill.

“This is in consonance with the fact that the issue of national minimum wage prescription is in the Exclusive List, Second Schedule, item 34, and being on that list, it is not a job that can be done by the Executive alone. The President has to transmit a bill and the National Assembly will take legislative action and return the bill that has been so treated to the President for accent.

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“States or organisations that are able to pay more than N27, 000 can do so; it depends on their financial capacity. For example, the Federal Government has resolved that its own workers will not get anything less than N30, 000. I am saying that the Federal Government had decided even before now that they would top up their own minimum wage to bring it in consonance with N30, 000.

Regarding how the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would react over the N27,000, Dr. Ngige said; “The minimum wage is for the lowest paid, the most vulnerable, the person on Grade Level One, Step One. That is the import and the labour unions understand that and so we don’t envisage any problem on that.”

NLC vehemently rejects N27,000
The Nigeria Labour Congress in its reaction to the new development has vehemently rejected the N27,000 fixed by the National Council of State.

Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, the NLC General Secretary, who spoke in Abuja said that the NCS has no jurisdiction to determine another amount after a Tripartite Committee had agreed N30,000 and submitted its report to President Buhari.

“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.”

Consequently, the NLC called on an emergency National Executive Council meeting.

Mr. Ozo-Eson noted that the Federal Government was only projecting to shutdown 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.

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