Invites labour for briefing Jan 4
Bill to be forwarded to NASS after recess
It’s delay tactics by govt—Labour
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government has said that the Technical Committee announced by President Muhammadu Buhari to be set up on the new Minimum Wage was not to review the report of the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee.
Besides, the government team on the new minimum wage has invited the leadership of the organised labour for a meeting on Friday to brief the workforce on the steps government was taking to ensure the implementation of a new wage.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, told Vanguard on telephone that the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was looking through the minimum wage bill submitted by the tripartite committee.
He said: “There is no bad situation, we are meeting them (labour) on January 4, and we have sent them a letter inviting them. I will meet them with the Budget and Planning Minister so that they will know what government is doing.
“We will brief them properly. The labour technical committee is not for them, it is not for their consumption, it is for the executive. It is an executive committee, a committee to advise the executive. We are not reviewing the minimum wage report.
“Government will look at the bill and the Attorney-General office is looking at that bill and we will bring out an executive bill from it for consideration by the National Economic Council, Federal Executive Council, National Council of States before transmission to the National Assembly, that is the sequence and we will do these things in January because the National Assembly is on recess.”
On why the Minimum Wage Bill was not submitted to the National Assembly before they went on recess, the minister explained: “It is going to be part of the budget, that is why the President talked about it in the budget, the entire quantum of money that would be used is captured in the 2019 budget.
“Besides, the Office of the Accountant General is still working on its own bill, it has not finished.”
He further disclosed that people expected to attend the meeting from the government side include Minister of Budget and National Planning as well as the Minister of Finance.
“The government side is me (Ngige), the Budget and Finance Ministers. Labour has been invited. We sent their invitation about three days ago,’’ Ngige said.
It’s delay tactics by govt —Labour
However, national President of United Labour Congress, ULC, one of the three labour centres in the country, Comrade Joe Ajaero, told Vanguard that any meeting by government now was just to buy time, stressing that what was needed at present was for President Muhammadu Buhari to forward an executive bill to the National Assembly on the N30,000 new minimum wage as recommended by the tripartite committee.
Ajaero said: “If you read Mr. President Budget speech, he was talking about setting up a technical committee. The very moment Minimum Wage Committee presents its report, it doesn’t meet again; it is an ad-hoc committee and not a standing committee.
At press time, it was not confirmed whether the organised labour was in receipt of any letter from the government and whether it would honour the scheduled meeting on January 4.