The Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated the tripartite committee on the national minimum wage. Vice President Kashim Shettima inaugurated the 37-member panel at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja.
With its membership cutting across federal, and state governments, the private sector, and organised labour, the panel is to recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.
In his opening address, Shettima urged members to “speedily” arrive at a resolution and submit their reports early as the current N30,000 minimum wage expires at the end of March 2024.
“This timely submission is crucial to ensure the emergence of a new minimum wage,” Shettima said.
VP Shettima also urged collective bargaining in good faith, emphasising contract adherence and encouraging consultations outside the committee.
In May 2017, the House of Representatives moved to amend the National Minimum Wage Act for a compulsory review of workers’ remuneration every five years.
Consequently, the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari empowers the committee to deliberate and come up with an agreed wage which would be eventually ratified by the National Assembly after due legislative scrutiny.
Buhari had also signed the minimum wage act that approved N30,000 for both federal and state workers in the same year.
However, President Bola Tinubu announced the discontinuance of fuel subsidy on May 29, 2023, which triggered a sharp rise in the general cost of living.
Although the administration approved an additional NGN 35,000 wage award for six months (starting September 2023) to alleviate the impact of the subsidy removal, the organised labour maintained that this was only a provisional solution and called for a complete review of the minimum wage in 2024.
Chairing the panel is a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Bukar Aji who, at the inauguration ceremony, affirmed that its members would come up with a “fair, practical, implementable and sustainable,” minimum wage.
Tuesday’s inauguration follows months of agitation from organised labour who expressed concerns over the FG’s failure to inaugurate the new national minimum wage committee as promised during negotiations last October.
From the government’s side, members include the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, representing the Minister of Labour and Employment; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Lydia Jafiya.
The Minister of Budget Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Esan; Permanent Secretary, GSO. OSGF, Dr. Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri; and Chairman/CEO, NSIWC – Member/Secretary, Ekpo Nta, are also members.
Representing the Nigeria Governors Forum are Mohammed Bago of Niger State, representing the North Central; Sen. Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State- representing the North East; Umar Dikko Radda of Katsina State, representing the North West; Prof. Charles Soludo of Anambra State, representing the South East; Sen. Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, from South West; and Otu Bassey of Cross River State who is representing the South-South.
From the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, Director-General, NECA; Mr Chuma Nwankwo; Mr Thompson Akpabio with also members from the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture are Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, National President; Ahmed Rabiu, National Vice President and Chief Humphrey Ngonadi, National Life President.
The members from the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises are Dr Abdulrashid Yerima, President & Chairman of the Council; Hon. Theophilus Nnorom Okwuchukwu, Private Sector representative; Dr Muhammed Nura Bello, Zonal Vice President, North West and also from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria are Mrs. Grace Omo-Lamai, Human Resource Director, Nigerian Breweries; Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General, MAN; Lady Ada Chukwudozie, Managing Director, Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited.
From the organised labour, the Nigeria Labour Congress Joe Ajaero, President, NLC; Emmanuel Ugboaja; Prince Adeyanju Adewale; Ambali Akeem Olatunji; Benjamin Anthony and Prof. Theophilus Ndukuba.
Also, members from the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria are Festus Osifo, President, TUC; Tommy Etim Okon, Deputy President I, TUC; Kayode Surajudeen Alakija, Deputy President II; Jimoh Oyibo, Deputy President III; Nuhu Toro, Secretary-General and Hafusatu Shuaib, Chairperson Women Comm.