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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hope for workers as FG sets up panel on N56,000 minimum wage demands


After the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, received boos of during the Workers Day celebration on May 1, the Federal Government has approved a 29-member tripartite committee to study the new minimum wage of N56,000 being clamoured for by Nigerian workers.
This was made known to State House Correspondents on Wednesday by Ngige, who explained that the approval followed an extensive deliberation on the report of a technical committee on the issue, which he presided over.
He said, “The matter needs to be thrashed out by all stakeholders, because already, employers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association have rejected the N56,000 minimum wage proposal.”
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According to the minister the tripartite committee will be chaired by an expert technocrat appointed by the Federal Government, which will also nominate five of the members, while six state governors will also be members.
“Council deliberated on the report of the joint committee of government on one side and the labour federation of NLC and TUC.
If you recall on May 11, 2016, there was a deregulation of oil and gas sector in Nigeria and this resulted in increased we had in the PMS otherwise called petrol and as a result of that, the labour federation kicked against the increase and said that if even the increase will be there, govt should put in place, mechanism to make sure that we do not have further increases.
“In that wise, they said PPPRA board regulatory board should be put in place. Two: they also asked for a review of the minimum wage available to workers in the country in other to enable them have better purchasing power.
“Prior to the increase, they have made a demand of the N56,000 monthly as the lowest paid wage to any Nigerian worker which we call Minimum wage. Thirdly, they said they would need some palliatives to cushion the effect of increase in pump price of petrol, transportation allowances and things like that.
“So, government put in place that committee. That committee finished its work on April 21 and handed the report to the SGF.
“Today at Council, I presented the report with the various recommendations therein and I am happy to let you know that government has approved the setting up of a national minimum wage committee comprising of 29 persons with a chairman ans a secretary,” Ngige said.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, also addressing the newsmen on the 2017 Appropriation Bill, which the National Assembly sent to the executive, last Friday, said the bill was still being analysed.
He said, “When the budget is approved, we first analyse it, review it and then make our recommendations to the President. We are working hard, we are still in the analysing process and getting inputs from the ministers.
“One of the issues we discussed in Council was the GDP report for the first quarter which was released yesterday by the NBS. We found the first quarter encouraging even though during the first quarter, we are still in a recession.
“But we found it very encouraging as the best result for the past three or four quarters. And it is a sign that we are moving out of recession,” Udoma stated.
Other issues deliberated by FEC, said the Interior Minister, Abdulraman Dambazzau , included revisiting the needed reform in the prison sector with the view to finding lasting solution to prison congestion in the country
He said : “We looked at the criminal justice administration and some of the things we briefed the council are that most of the prisons are old.
“As a matter of fact, quite a number of them were built about 100 years ago. They are dilapidated and lacked the platform for rehabilitation.
“The major problem is terms of congestion are the issue of awaiting trials of inmates. Today, about 70 persons of awaiting trials constitute the prisons inmates, 30 percent of them are convicted.’
He disclosed that about 200 of the inmates awaiting trials have been in prison for over 11 years, while a number of them have been in prison for about 5 to 10 years.
On his commrnt, Minister of State for Environment, Usman Jubril, said that the council looked at the issue of aforrestation and sustainable forest management in the country.
According to him: “It subsequently approved the take-off of National Forest Trust Fund. You are probably aware that in the last five months, we suspended the issue of sighting permit that would allow export semi-proceed woods out of the country.”

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