Minimum Wage: FG, OPS Agree On N62,000

The and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) last night reached an agreement to pay N62,000 to their least paid worker, an increase of N2000 on the N60,000 rejected last week by labour. But the states said they cannot afford to pay even N60,000 while the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) disagreed with government and the OPS, saying the minimum they would accept is N250,000, which is N244,000 less than the N494,000 they had demanded....Read The Full Story Here ▶

The N62,000 was agreed on yesterday a few hours after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) declared that the N60,000 tabled last week at a meeting with organised labour was too high and unsustainable.

The sum was rejected outright by the NLC) and TUC, with both subsequently calling a strike on Monday that paralysed the nation.

They however suspended the strike on Tuesday for one week following a pledge by the Federal Government to up its offer.

The new figure of N62,000 was confirmed by Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma and TUC President Festus Osifo at the end of last night’s meeting.

Uzodinma said the Tripartite Committee would send its recommendation to President Bola Tinubu for his approval.

He said the President would in turn forward an executive bill on a final figure as minimum wage to the National Assembly.

Uzodinma said: “We are almost there because we are just about to sign and there will be a complete closure. Every other thing will follow.

“The committee has worked so hard and the committee has reached an agreement. The Tripartite Committee is made up of three parties – the government, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Organised Labour.

“In the wisdom of the committee, it has put together a recommendation that will be forwarded to Mr. President for further action

“The Organised Private Sector and the Federal Government have agreed on N62,000 while Organised Labour is asking for N250,000.

“At the end of the day, what is important is that we are talking. There is no hostility anymore. And the national anxiety is going to be relaxed as soon as this is made public.

“That is the beauty of the conversation and I am very happy we have been able to manage this temptation that has befallen our nation so that government can face its business and Nigerians will also go about their businesses without any further embarrassment.

President of TUC, Osifo, said: “The OPS and Federal Government have recommended N62,000 as the minimum wage but for us (labour) we felt that with the current economic hardship and the difficulty in the land, the sum of N250,000 should be what will be okay as the minimum wage.

“We are going to sign a report and forward this position to Mr. President. This committee is to make recommendation to Mr. President so we will forward it to Mr. President and he will forward it to the National Assembly.

“We will keep pushing to ensure that we have a wage that stands the test of time in Nigeria.”

Also speaking, Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, Bukar Aji said: “The recommendation that we have just had is as a result of a very deep dialogue and consensus reached at the tripartite level. The situation that we are recommending to Mr. President somehow is repeating itself because it happened in the 2018 exercise.

“In 2018, it was the other way round. The Organised Private Sector and the Organised Labour recommended N30,000 as minimum wage while the government side recommended N24,000.

“Two figures were recommended to the then President for his consideration and onward transmission to the National Assembly for it to become a law. That is exactly where we are.

“The mandate of the Tripartite Committee is to recommend. It has no powers to approve but to recommend and the recommendation today came as a result of deeper understanding and studies of all the economic indices and current inflation, state of the economy, affordability, ability, capability and sustainability had been displayed so that a figure that will further throw the country into confusion is not announced.

“This is because if any party goes into an agreement of the figures it knows from its sources it cannot afford then it is going to create another problem.

“But I thank God that all wisdom came together and that the recommendation to Mr. President is going along the direction that you have just heard from the Governor of Imo State who played a very critical role in mediating this process with his colleague, the Governor of Kwara State.

On her part, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said: We have done our job and thank God we have come to the conclusion of a process that started months ago.

“It is the issue of three people negotiating and you don’t expect them to come in one day and just agree. There are certain indices we had to take into consideration and certain things we had to look at. Having come to this end, we have to move forward.”

The meeting was attended by Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun; Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq and labour leaders.

The Nation gathered that it took a lot of efforts by the Tripartite Committee to have the OPS on its side on the new minimum wage.

But the states remained adamant and sources said some had accused the federal government of caving under the labour’s pressure without critically looking at the feasibility of new figure.

“For example, a governor from the south who is a member of the opposition lamented how he would take such huge amounts to pay less than 200,000 civil servants in the state, which does not constitute more than 5 per cent of the population,” a source said.

ALagos based manufacturer was quoted as saying: “The FG has literally shaved our heads in our absence. Though we had nominal representations, they were not allowed to come back to us for proper consultation.”

A member of the FG negotiation team said: “Actually, FG’s position is that we can pay as much as 65,000 because the President believes in quick and amicable solution.”

When contacted, Information Minister Mohammed Idris reiterated the Federal Government’s position to pay above 60,000 as minimum wage subject to its ability to sustain the final minimum wage the tripartite committee finally comes up with.

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