The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to effect the payment of the N30,000 new national minimum wage on or before December 31, 2019.
The FEC also approved that the payment of the new wage should take effect from April 18, 2019.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa Abuja.
Ngige said he, in collaboration with the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, had been directed to send the consequential adjustments to states as a template in their negotiations with labour.
He said, “Today (Wednesday), we sent to the Federal Executive Council our report and the conciliation that was done last week between the organised labour and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the issue of the new national minimum wage which has been fixed at N30,000 per month and the consequential adjustments that were meant for salaries and wage structures of the public service thereto.
“You will remember that last week when I briefed the press, I told you that the salaries and wage structures are compartmentalised into four classes; health, armed forces service, research institutes and the paramilitary.
“So, they have percentage increase in their wage structure and for emphasis the Grade Level – 07 compartment received 23.2 per cent rise, Grade Level 08, 20 per cent, Grade Level 09, 19 per cent, Grade Level 10-14, 16 per cent and Grade Level 15 to 17, 14 per cent in the CONPPS which is the pure civil service structure and agencies earning the same wages as those in the public service.
“Council also approved for us that the financial implication be worked out and the payment should be completed on or before December 2019. Council further directed that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation should effect all these payments before December 31, 2019.
“Council further directed also that the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustments table down to the state and local governments as an advisory document for their information and guidance for their National Joint Public Service status in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law.”
But the Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday in Enugu said it would not contend with the Federal Government over the decision of the Federal Executive Council to set December deadline for the payment of all arrears accruing from the new minimum wage.
A source at the Enugu venue of the 2019 national leadership of labour retreat told one of our correspondents that the General Secretary of the NLC, Emmanuel Ugboaja, made the statement while reacting to the FEC decision on minimum wage arrears.
The PUNCH learnt that Ugboaja said the leadership of labour would consult with its economic team on what to do to ensure the arrears was not delayed beyond December 2019.
“Once the arrears is covered, we will then talk with our colleagues that are in-house to confirm the reasonableness of such timing because workers prepare the wage bill, the computation and processing.
“If they tell us it’s an unreasonable length of time, we will react to that. If they tell us it is reasonable within the circumstance, of course, we can live with it. Our response will be determined by what we get from our inside sources. What is really at it for us is the certainty that the arrears accruing will be paid,” Ugboaja said.
More than 20 states ready to pay –NGF
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum on Wednesday said more than 20 states were ready to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
The NGF’s Head of Media and Publicity for the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja
Bello-Barkindo, in the interview with newsmen said, “As of the time the matter was discussed, more than 20 states were ready to pay. Definitely, solvent states will pay while insolvent states will strive.”
Asked when the governors would meet over the matter, Bello-Barkindo said the matter had been discussed extensively in the past but he would not rule out possible review.
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