Minimum wage: Governors agree to pay N22, 500

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NACCIMA dissociates self from N30, 000 demanded by organised labour

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has rescinded its earlier decision to stick to the current minimum wage of N18, 000 saying states can only afford to raise it to N22, 500 as against the N30, 000 demanded by organised labour.

The federal government had earlier offered to pay N24, 000 as minimum wage.

Announcing this after an emergency meeting in Abuja late Tuesday, the chairman of the Forum and governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, said the state governors do not trivialize issues concerning the welfare of all Nigerians.

“Following a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum where we deliberated on the National Minimum Wage after a briefing from our representatives at the Tripartite Committee, we submit as follows: “The welfare of all Nigerians is our ultimate concern. In all our states, we are concerned about the deteriorating economic situation experienced by the vulnerable segment of our population.

“In agreeing to a national minimum wage, however, the Forum is even more concerned about development, particularly in the health, education and infrastructure spheres.

“It is therefore our considered position that since the percentage of salaried workers is not more than five per cent of the total working population, our position must not just reflect a figure, but also a sustainable strategy based on ability and capacity to pay, as well as reflective of all our developmental needs in each state.”

“After all, Section 3 of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Act provides that ‘the Commission shall recommend a proposition of income growth which should be initiated for wage increase and also examine the salary structure in public and private sectors with reasonable features of relativity and maximum levels which are in consonance with the national economy.’

“It is in this sense that we feel strongly that our acceptable minimum wage must be done in such a way that total personnel cost does not exceed 50 per cent of the revenue available to each state.

“Governors, therefore, agreed to pay a national minimum wage of N22, 500, said Yari.”

Meanwhile, Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, has denied claims by organised labour that the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage agreed on N30, 000.

NACCIMA said it only agreed to pay N22, 000, adding that it was not in any way comfortable even when the federal government proposed N24, 000.

NACCIMA’s denial was contained in a letter it wrote to the chairperson of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee, Ms Ama Pepple.

The letter addressed to Pepple and signed by Dr. M. F. Dankaka, President, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KCCIMA) and representative of NACCIMA in the tripartite committee, reads: “We refer to the media reports on the above stated national minimum wage figure and the proposed industrial actions by organised labour over a misconceived ‘agreement’ on the sum of N30, 000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

“We were perplexed to learn that the sum/agreement was an outcome of the workings of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, which we are a member.

“At no time did NACCIMA agree to such a figure. Rather, the last figure offered by us as part of the organised private sector, OPS, was N22, 000 and negotiation was still ongoing for the meeting to arrive at a consensus and not by moving a motion.

“We did not also authorise the representatives of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, to speak on our behalf. Recall that our members constitute about 50 percent of the employers in the OPS.

“Conversely, we do not want to speak for the thousands of employers in the informal economy whose voices have not been heard.”

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