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Labour Minister denies statement on new minimum wage

BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
ABUJA—MINISTER of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, yesterday dismissed report quoting him of saying the Federal Government could not pay the N18.000 new minimum wage, stressing he never said so because, knowing  that government was fully committed to paying the new wage once it became legal.

Chief Wogu, who described the report as a figment of the reporter’s imagination, however, noted that it was pertinent to correct the misinformation as the Federal Government initiated the process of the New National Minimum Wage.

He said President Goodluck Jonathan had shown great political will to implement the recommended and approved new national minimum wage before the National Assembly for passage into law.

In a statement by Prince Samuel Olowookere, Assistant Director (Press), the Labour Minister said: “It is relevant to remind members of the public that the Federal Government is already paying minimum of N17,000 monthly salary through the Restoration of Pay Relativity in the salary of civil servants and as such, additional N1,000 will in no way be a challenge to attain the agreed N18,000.

It is, therefore, regrettable that the media quoted the minister out of context, as saying that the “Federal Government can not pay Minimum Wage. This is nothing but a misinformation. In effect, the minister’s statement was as follows: “Considering the trend of events, it is grossly inadequate to run the headquarters and parastatals, especially with current industrial related unrest at hand, and the expected ones that may emerge due to minimum wage request nationwide resulting from the global economic meltdown.”

The Minister further stated that:- “Our budgets are prepared and tailored to provide avenues for timely policy response and intervention to the sometime volatile labour related social environment that faces the nation”, “however it is instructive of note that labour activities cut across all MDA’S which demand the understanding and support of the distinguished members of the NASS to enable the Ministry to be more proactive and responsive to industrial unrest”.

“Chief Wogu uses this medium to call on all stakeholders in the labour sector, Organized labour unions, Nigerian Workers, the Media and our social partners to disregard the publication as the Federal Government is committed to assent and implement the New National Minimum Wage Bill immediately it is passed by the National Assembly.

I hereby call on all stakeholders in the labour sector, organized labour unions, Nigerian Workers and our social partners to disregard the publication as the Federal Government is committed to assent and implement the New National Minimum Wage Bill immediately it is passed by the National Assembly.”


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