President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, inaugurated the tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee to address issues concerning the welfare of the Nigerian workers.
The committee, which is chaired by the former Head of Service of the Federation, Ama Pepple, has the Federal Government team which will be led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige. He also doubles as the deputy chairman of the committee.
The Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule, will serve as secretary. Others in the the Federal Government’s team are the Minister, Budget and Planning, Udo Udo Udoma; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita; Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Roy Ugo.
A team from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) includes Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola (South West); Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha (Souh East); Gombe State Governor, Hassan Dankwambo (North East); Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike (South South); Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong (North Central), and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (North West), while the Director-General of NGF, A. B. Okauru will be an observer.
On the Trade Union’s side, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, leads a team that include, comrades Peters Adeyemi, Kiri Mohammed, Amechi Asugwuni, Peter Ozo-Eson .
The Trade Union Congress (TUC)’s team, led by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama , has comrades in its fold; Sunday Olusoji Salako, Alade Bashir Lawa, and Igwe Achese, the president, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).
On the employers’ side are the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Olusegun Oshinowo, Mr Timothy Olawale (NECA), Mr. Chuma Nwankwo (NECA); Mr Olubunmi Adekoje, DG, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI); Alhaji Ahmed Ladan Gobir; Chairman, Kaduna East Branch, Manufacturers’ Association (MAN), Otunba Francis Oluwagbenro (MAN); Hajia Muheeba Dankaka, president, Kano Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Prince Degun Agboade, president, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).
Speaking at the occasion, President Buhari noted that the Nigerian workers are vital elements in the growth and development of modern nations.
He charged the nominees of the committee who have been selected for the task of renegotiating the national minimum wage to amicably consider the issue of a national minimum wage and all matters that are ancillary to it with thoroughness and concern not only for the welfare of the work-force but the effect on the country’s economy.
“My hope is that, the outcome of the deliberations of the Committee would be consensual and generally acceptable,” he said.
According to him, we all know that the last Minimum Wage Instrument has expired, and it is in recognition of the need to ensure a fair and decent living wage that the Federal Government put in motion necessary mechanism so that we can today inaugurate this large committee with a big task ahead of you.
“You are all aware that during the period following the increase in Petrol Pump Price in May 2016, a Technical Committee was established to examine and make recommendations to Government on the measures to be adopted to cushion the envisaged painful effects of the increase on workers and the Nigerian populace at large.h
” The subject of a National Minimum Wage for the Federation is within the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). Accordingly, we should aim to go above the basic Social Protection Floor for all Nigerian workers based on the ability of each tier of Government to pay.
“I say this because minimum wage is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for putting in his or her labour and as such should be anchored on Social Justice and Equity,” he said.
Buhari, who said that the committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations as soon as possible to enable other requisite machinery to be set in motion, said government’s decision after the committee’s recommendation would be sent as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for it to undergo appropriate legislative scrutiny before passage into law.