Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has directed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, to put processes in place for the setting up of a tripartite committee that will deliberate on theN56,000 national minimum wage proposed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The committee which will comprise of 29 members had been on the front burner since last year with labour accusing government of deliberately reneging on its earlier agreement.
The committee would consider options open to all stakeholders for a new national minimum wage to come on stream.
The resolution was fallout of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by Acting President Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa.
Ngige, who briefed State House correspondents on the latest development, explained that the tripartite committee would review the hitherto existing 2011 minimum wage as well as prescribe to government the areas of palliative that will enable the economy cushion the effect of the increase in the pump price of fuel.
The tripartite committee membership will comprise of five persons from government, six state governors representing each of the geo-political zones, while employers (NECA) comprising Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chambers of Commerce as well as federation of trade unions would make up the rest.
In recent times, workers in the public service have become agitated over the paltry N18,000 minimum wage they have been receiving coupled with rising inflation. They have argued that it was no longer sustainable.
The deregulation policy in the downstream sector of the oil industry that resulted in the increase of fuel pump price from N86.50 to N145 also came up for discussions at the FEC meeting.
In May last year, the hike in price of fuel had prompted the NLC to embark on a partial strike, a development that later culminated in the setting up of a palliative committee to cushion the effects on the masses.
The palliatives committee submitted its report to the council on Wednesday.
“Council deliberated on the report of the joint committee of government on one side and the labour federation of NLC and TUC.
“If you recall on May 11, 2016, there was a deregulation of oil and gas sector in Nigeria and this resulted in increase we had in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol and as a result of that, the labour federation kicked against the increase and said that if even the increase will be there government should put in place mechanism to make sure that we do not have further increases.
“In that regard, they said PPPRA regulatory board should be put in place. They also asked for a review of the minimum wage available to workers in the country in order to enable them have better purchasing power.
“Prior to the increase, they have made a demand of the N56,000 monthly as the lowest paid wage to any Nigerian worker which we call minimum wage.
Thirdly, they said they would need some palliatives to cushion the effects of increase in pump price of petrol, transportation allowances, among others.
“So, government put in place that committee. That committee finished its work on April 21 and handed the report to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“At council, I presented the report with the various recommendations therein and I am happy to let you know that government has approved the setting up of a national minimum wage committee comprising of 29 persons with a chairman and a secretary.
“Composition of this committee is that the Federal Government will contribute five persons from the public sector, the state governors who are major stakeholders will contribute six governors, one from each geo-political zone. Then the labour federations will present eight persons and the organised employers’ association represented by Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Chamber of Commerce and Small and Medium Enterprises will jointly produce eight persons. Government will appoint the chair and the secretary”.