In what appears a major drawback in the lingering national minimum wage discussion by the tripartite committee set up by government on the issue, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Wednesday, said that the Federal Government and the organised labour have not reached any agreement on the new proposed wage.
The minister’s remarks contradicted the position of the organized labour leaders who had last week confirmed that the committee had agreed on the minimum wage proposal and that government would announced the amount within weeks.
Specifically, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, last Thursday said that everything relating to the proposed wage had been finalized by the committee and that what remained was for the agreed figures to be sent to the National Economic Council (NEC) for approval.
However, the minister rubbished all that, saying that government is still consulting and negotiation on the proposed wage is still ongoing.
Ngige, who made the position of government on the issue known during an interview with State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting said that there was no iota of truth in the claim that those concerned had agreed to increase minimum wage to N30,000.
The minister explained that while the organised labour agreed on N30,000, the organised private sector came down to N25,000, the Federal Government proposed N24,000 while state governors proposed N20,000.
According to him, in accordance with Convention 131 of the International Labour Organisation, the most important thing to consider in fixing the new minimum wage is the ability to pay.