Why implementation of minimum wage is delayed beyond September

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The minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said that the new national minimum wage may not materialise in September as earlier envisaged.

Ngige, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, said the September date was just a date to conclude negotiation on the issue of minimum wage.

“The committee on the new National Minimum wage is expected to conclude its work by the end of September and present its report to the government for deliberation and approval before an executive bill is sent to the National Assembly on the issue”.

The minister, however, said that the issue of capacity to pay was also paramount in the deliberations on the minimum wage.

According to him, it is to get the input of all those concerned including state governments and the organised private sector that the committee embarked on zonal public hearing across the country.

The minister said further that in the course of the zonal public hearings, many state governments made different submissions ranging from N22, 000 monthly to N58, 000.

He added that the governors were also of the belief that for the new minimum wage to become effective, the current revenue allocation formula would have to be reviewed in favour of the states and local government.

It would be recalled that the Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson had said during the 2018 Workers’ Day celebration in Yenagoa that the existing revenue sharing formula should be reviewed if states are to pay any new minimum wage.

“The minimum wage is a very serious issue in the country, but we must also be cautious how we go about it. The states must have inputs because we should not make promises that we cannot fulfill,” he said.

“As we speak, some states can’t pay the 18 percent minimum wage because of the existing revenue sharing formula between the federal and other tiers of government,” he said.

Ngige said some other states were also of the view that the minimum wage should be maintained at the current N18, 000 in view of the inability of some states to pay the current wages.

According to Ngige, when the minimum wage committee concludes its report, it will be submitted to the National Council of State and the Federal Executive Council for approval before a bill is sent to the National Assembly to legalise the work of the committee.

He said even though it was not an easy task, the committee was making progress in its assigned responsibility.

He pointed out that six governors were elected to be members of the committee as well as representatives of the private organised sector in an effort to carry everybody along.

With NAN reports

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