Buhari receives report of Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage

Buhari receives report of Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage
November 06 20:27 2018

…By Ahmed Idris

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday received report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage, and expressed federal government’s commitment to having a new National Minimum Wage Act.

Receiving the report from the chairman of the committee, Ms Amal Pepple, at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the President said he was delighted that the committee had successfully completed its assignments in a peaceful and non-controversial manner.

The President also called on the leadership of the labour unions and the Nigerian workers to avoid being used as political weapon

“May I, therefore, employ workers and their leaders not to allow themselves to be used as political weapons,’’ he said.

According to the President, the federal government would soon transmit an executive bill on the new national minimum wage to the National Assembly for its passage within the shortest possible time.

“Our plan is to transmit the Executive bill to the National Assembly for its passage within the shortest possible time. I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future.

“Let me use this opportunity to recognise the leadership of the organized labour and private sector as well as representatives of State and Federal Governments for all your hard work. The fact that we are here today, is a notable achievement.

“As the Executive Arm commences its review of your submission, we will continue to engage you all in closing any open areas presented in this report. I, therefore, would like to ask for your patience and understanding in the coming weeks,” he said.

He said review of the national minimum wage had become necessary for many reasons, saying that the last review took place in 2011.

“We all know since then, the prices of key consumables have increased and the most vulnerable of our workers are struggling to make ends meet. Since 2011, many changes have taken place. Nigeria rebased its GDP to become the largest economy in Africa. We reported very strong GDP growth rates and exceptional performance of our capital markets.

“However, these reported successes did not flow into the pockets and homes of majority of Nigerians. In the last three years, we focused on correcting this deficiency. We are working to create a diversified and inclusive economy,’’ he said.

He said the present administration had been pushing to clear pension arrears owed to retired workers with the limited resources available to it, and also supported state governments to pay workers salary.

The President acknowledged that the concerns raised by representatives of government in the committee were around affordability, while many states struggle to meet their existing salary requirements.

‘On the side of labour, the points raised focused on the need for any increase to be meaningful. In a way, both arguments are valid. I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas,’’ he said.

In her remarks, chairman of the committee, Ms Amal Pepple, said the recommendation in the report was predicated on the high cost of living, occasioned by the exchange rate, and rising inflation in the country.

She said the committee also considered micro economic indicators including the revenue and expenditure profile of government, adding that implementation of the recommended minimum wage would boost the purchasing power of the working class, increase consumption expenditure and stimulate economic growth.

“Consideration was also given to the critical role of the informal sector in employment generation and the need for a realistic minimum wage that will not stifle the growth of the sector and the overall economy.

“After carefully weighing these critical factors and bearing in the mind the overriding interest of the economy the Committee while noting the offer of N24,000 by the federal government, is recommending an increase in the existing minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000.

“We believe that the implementation of the recommended minimum wage, will, no doubt, boost the purchasing power of workers, increase consumption expenditure and ultimately stimulate business and overall economic growth.

“The committee has also produced a draft national minimum wage bill 2018 for condition by government. We strongly believe that the enactment of the draft bill into law is very critical to the operation and future reviews of the National Minimum Wage,’’ she said