The organised labour has said the proposed N66,500 minimum wage should apply to all workers in the country.
Speaking at the Workers’ Day celebration in Abuja, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, said workers would vote out governments that failed to pay the new minimum wage.
He said, “We insist that once the Minimum Wage bill is signed into law, all employers in public and private sectors must pay at once.
“We shall resist moves to renegotiate the minimum wage at any level.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in his remarks said the Buhari-led administration was committed to improving workers’ welfare.
He endorsed the demand for a new minimum wage, noting that it was the responsibility of government to establish the necessary social protection floor for all Nigerian workers based on the ability of each tier of government to pay.
Osinbajo added, “We believe that those who can pay above the social protection floor are free to do so, as many have been doing in many states and sectors of the economy.
“It is my hope that the tripartite committee, comprising government, labour and the private sector will expedite its assignment to enable the Federal Government to present an executive bill on a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly,” the VP said.
Buhari’s administration most worker-friendly – Presidency
The Presidency on Tuesday described President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as the most worker-friendly in the history of the nation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, said this in a statement to mark the May Day.
“I place a caveat here. I work for the President and I am paid for the work I do. This is to save the naysayers some trouble, using their energy to launch attacks when I say that President Buhari’s is the most-worker friendly administration this country has seen,” he said.
Shehu said when the President assumed office in 2015, he met a plan from 2014 for the retrenchment of thousands of workers by the previous administration.
He said, “When he was presented with the interim report of the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee, the President-elect was shown a document in which 23 states had not paid their workers, in one or two cases for up to 12 months. He said this was a national emergency and would be treated as such.
“The first thing the President did on coming to office was to stop the planned retrenchment of workers.
“When the economic recession deepened and the banks and oil companies began to retrench, he asked the Minister of Labour and Employment to stop it.
“To ease the tight liquidity situation in states, he gave bailouts through the Central Bank of Nigeria, specifically asking them to pay workers and pensioners. In 2015, a salary loan of about N338bn was disbursed to the states.”
The presidential spokesman said the huge unpaid refunds due to the states from the Paris and London Club settlements for which the Federal Government overcharged the other two tiers of government that had remained unpaid since the Obasanjo years had been given attention.
According to him, about 50 per cent had so far been returned to them.
“In sum total, N1.75tn has been given to states as extra-statutory allocation known as bailout since the advent of President Buhari’s administration.
Shehu said the review of the national minimum wage had entered its final stages with public hearings held in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“The government has continued to pay attention to service welfare… while the public service is being re-injected with new blood.
“The message from President Buhari to workers… is that they are treated as partners.”
Lawmakers’ll support new minimum wage – Dogara
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, assured workers on Tuesday that the National Assembly would pass the new national minimum wage bill.
He added that the bill had not been received from the executive arm of government.
The speaker gave the assurance in a message to Nigerian workers to mark the 2018 May Day.
He expressed the hope that the bill would be transmitted to the National Assembly soon after the Federal Government Committee on Minimum Wage concluded its public hearings.
The message read in part, “I assure you (workers) that the National Assembly will give expeditious passage to the minimum wage bill whenever it is transmitted by the executive. We will support it wholeheartedly.”
‘Workers deserve at least N50,000 minimum wage’
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in his goodwill message on Workers’ Day, said Nigerian workers could not survive on N18,000 minimum wage.
In the message by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, Ekweremadu, said, “It is becoming more difficult for workers to survive on N18,000 minimum wage.
“Therefore, I support workers’ demand for a new minimum wage. Even if the workers cannot have exactly the N66,500 new monthly minimum wage, which they currently demand, they should have at least N50,000.”