The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has cut down its proposal to N25,000 from its earlier N42, 000 presented to the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, as the new national minimum wage.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who disclosed this while reacting to the 14-day ultimatum issued by the organised Labour, also said that Labour has also increased its demand to N65,000 from the earlier N56,000 it proposed a new minimum wage to the committee.
However, the minister and the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee and former Head of Civil Service of the Federation will meet President Muhammadu Buhari today to present the latest position and report of the committee to him.
In response to the position of organised labour that the Federal Government is stalling the process of the new minimum wage, Ngige assured that the government side would have met all the stakeholders it needed to discuss with within the next weeks, adding that there would be head-way after that on the issue.
He said: “We are still within the timeline and time frame we gave ourselves. We have worked assiduously to ensure the job is completed. The only aspect not achieved is the fixing of the amount, other aspects have been completed and done.
“We have been unable to fix that due to many factors. The organised labour finds it easy to say this is our figure. Labour had earlier submitted N56,000 and later increased it to N65,000. Of course, they have the right to do so. NECA brought N42,000 initially but last week, they brought it down to N25,000, taking into account the economic situation in the country and the ability to pay and creat new jobs. The ability to pay is a guiding principle.”
He said the Federal Government especially cannot give its own figure yet, because it has to hear and negotiate with the state governors, adding, “the Federal Government recognizing that said to the committee that the state governments has to give us a figure.
“We have written to the state governors and we are following it up. The Governors Forum said they have to do more job on what their members submitted.”
Ngige said: “It is not true that the Federal Government is trying to stall the process. Within the next two weeks, we will be able to consult all the Federal Government team, the governors and all other partners.
“The ultimatum is uncalled for, it is not necessary. On our findings, by tomorrow, I and the chairman of the Committee, Ama Pepple will brief Mr. President on the negotiation.”
He explained further that he had met with the leader of the six governors in the committee and the chairman of the Governors Forum yesterday.
“There is no cause to worry. Government is not oblivious to the need to fix the new minimum wage, Labour is trying to overheat the polity for no reason,” Hope said.
The ILO convention does not allow for blackmail, adding that Labour issuing subtle blackmail which is unacceptable.
“Subtle blackmail and attempt to blackmail which is not allowed by different ILO Conventions and Nigeria Labour law won’t be accepted. No attempt should be made to intimidate or blackmail. We are still in work in progress.”