President Bola Tinubu, represented Vice President Kashim Shettima, has inaugurated the Bukar Goni Aji-led 37-man Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage at the State House, Abuja.
The tripartite committee is tasked with the responsibility of proposing a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
According to the country’s labour law, the minimum wage undergoes a review every five years. Notably, the Minimum Wage Act, signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, set the minimum wage at N30,000 for both federal and state workers. However, many states have continued to owe workers, and have failed to implement the agreed wage.
While inaugurating the committee comprising representatives of the federal and state governments, as well as the private sector, and organized labour, the president emphasised the need for contract adherence, urged good faith in collective bargaining, and encouraged outside committee consultations.
He further urged committee members to promptly reach a resolution and submit their reports.
He stated that the new national minimum wage should be grounded in principles of social justice and equity.
Tinubu highlighted the importance of a fair minimum wage, saying, “The minimum wage represents the least amount of compensation an employee should receive for their labour, and as such, it should be rooted in social justice and equity.”
Recognising the imminent expiration of the last Minimum Wage Instrument, he stressed the need for a fair and decent living wage.
He acknowledged the short-term consequences of economic decisions, and assured that the government was working out measures to mitigate the effects on workers and the populace.
“While the decisions we have taken to save the economy are inevitable, we are not unaware of the short-term consequences.
“We believe that government is a continuum, and as such, we have intervened in the systemic delays that undermined our economic growth.
“Since the removal of the subsidy, various committees have been established to examine and make recommendations to the government on measures to cushion the envisaged painful effects of the increase on workers and the Nigerian populace at large.
“I am pleased to share that action has since commenced on the implementation of the outcome of those agreements and initiatives.”
President Tinubu directed all stakeholders, including ministers, governors and private sector employers to be actively involved in the committee’s deliberations.
He also instructed the Minister of Finance to allocate necessary funds and resources to facilitate the committee’s work.
Emphasising the need for timely recommendations, he urged the committee to conclude deliberations promptly and submit their report.
President Tinubu announced that the government’s decision, based on the committee’s recommendations, would be presented as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly.
He reminded the committee to adhere to the principles of full consultation with social partners, aligning with international conventions such as the International Labour Organisation, Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131, and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No. 26.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) highlighted President Tinubu’s support for the Nigerian workers, and the formation of a tripartite committee to hasten the decision-making process.
He stressed the need for a realistic approach aligned with economic conventions and the current state of the Nigerian economy.
Akume said: “Well, first of all, let me say that President Bola Tinubu, has tremendous love and respect for the Nigeria workers. And that is why he approved generously for the inauguration of the tripartite committee and charged them to move very fast.
“He has provided logistics; he wants us to move forward. We don’t have any figures in mind. We want a very realistic approach based on certain conventions; based on the reality of the Nigerian economy, and also based on what you have in our neighboring countries in West Africa.
“Nigerian workers, everyone deserve a rise in his/her pay package. Honestly, we want a situation where Nigerian workers are sufficiently motivated to work for the common good.
“Once they are sufficiently motivated, they would do very well because they are productive, creative, full of initiatives, and human resource base, and I want to believe, and strongly too, that it is second to none in Africa. That is why we’re here today to ensure that our actions are in line and in conformity with the laws, expectations and aspirations of the Nigerian worker.”
Speaking to State House Correspondents, the Niger State Governor, Umar Bago, expressed the government’s commitment to the welfare of Nigerian citizens.
He acknowledged challenges faced by the sub-nationals, but emphasised collaboration with the federal government to address them.