•Takes effect from April 18, 2019, when Minimum Wage law was signed
•Wages Commission, Ngige to send consequential adjustment to states
•NYSC members to enjoy new minimum wage, says minister
•Okays N1.7 billion for airports’ communication equipment
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to effect payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000 on or before December 31, 2019.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Senator Ngige further said that FEC approved that payment of the new wage should take effect from April 18, 2019, and that he, in collaboration with the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, have been directed to send the consequential adjustment to states as a template for their negotiations with state governments.
This is even as Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, said in a tweet yesterday that members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, would also enjoy the new minimum wage.
Ngige said: “Today (yesterday), we sent to FEC our report and the conciliation that was done last week between Organised Labour and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the issue of the new national minimum wage which has been fixed at N30,000 a month and the consequential adjustment that were meant for salaries and wage structures of the public service thereto.
“You will remember that last week when I briefed the press, I told you that the salaries and wage structure are in four classes — Health, Armed Forces Service, Research Institutes and the Paramilitary.
“So, they have percentage increases in their wage structure and for emphasis, the Grade Level-07 compartment received 23.2 per cent rise; Grade Level 08, 20 per cent; Grade Level 09, 19 per cent; Grade Level 10-14, 16 per cent; and Grade Levels 15 to 17, 14 per cent in the CONPPS which is the pure civil service structure and agencies earning the same wages as those in the public service.
“You have the CONRESS AND CONTISS which is compartmental too. They have 23.2 per cent equivalent and 14-16, 10.5 per cent, Police and other security agencies because they have had a pay rise.
“Last year, they were consequentially adjusted to between four and seven per cent; the same goes for the paramilitary, they also have their consequential pay rise.
“So, FEC today (yesterday) approved for us that the financial implications worked out by the National Incomes and Wages Commission that the salaries adjustment should take effect from April 18, 2019, the day the new national minimum wage Act came into being.
“Council also approved that the financial implications are worked out and the payment completed on or before December 2019. Council further directed that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, effect all these payments before December 31, 2019.
“Council further directed also that the National Income and Wages Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustment table down to the states and local governments as an advisory document for their information and guidance for their National Joint Public Service status in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law.’’
FEC okays N1.7bn for Zaria, Katsina airports
In his briefing, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said FEC approved N1.7 billion for procurement and installation of communication equipment for airport towers in Zaria and Katsina.
He explained that the equipment was to ensure safety and efficiency at the airports, adding that the completion period for the contract was eight months.
Sirika said: “We presented a memorandum for the award of contract for the procurement and installation of communications equipment and absolute control contour for control towers in Zaria and Katsina. The total contract sum is N1,71460,196.10, including Value Added Tax, VAT.
“The completion period is eight months. This is to address critical safety issues in such a way that there will be better communication and efficiency in the control towers in Zaria and Katsina and this is ongoing, similar to what we have done in other airports. This is to make air transposition more efficient to make sure we save time and money.”
Use of methanol approved says Onu
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, on his part, said council approved the use of methanol in the economy.
He said methanol was derivable from gas that accompanies crude oil and that it had been profitable for oil companies to flare gas, which has posed great environmental problems in the country.
He said the methanol would be used as a transportation fuel and for cooking, adding that it was cheap and safe and would help check deforestation in the country.
Onu also said the project, which would be private sector-driven could not be achieved overnight as plants have to be built and other logistics put in place.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology presented a memo to FEC that requires the utilisation of methanol in our economy. The problem that we have in the Niger Delta where one natural gas is flared and has created lots of environmental problems for our fellow Nigerian living around those areas where gas is continuously flared is a major concern to this administration.
“One way to help us to completely solve this problem of gas flaring is to convert the natural gas into methane. Methanol is a liquid that is found virtually in all sectors of the economy. You can use methanol for transportation, all these racing cars that you find can use it.
“But for ordinary use, normally the blending will be 15 per cent of methanol so that you don’t have to make any adjustment to your vehicle. Then also, methanol can be used to replace diesel in these trucks we find on our highways because methanol is cheaper and is environmentally friendly.
“Also, our people in rural areas can use methanol for cooking so that it can replace kerosene because when you use kerosene, you have soothes and it creates a health problem for you but methanol does not have that, it’s very clean, safe and cheap.
“It’s one way we can utilise our gas in our rural areas and it’s going to help us in addressing the issues of deforestation. Today. we are losing many of our forest trees because we are using them for domestic energy.
“So. methanol will do this and methanol is also used for generating electricity which we can use to power our plants and many other plants that currently use diesel. Methanol will be a replacement.
“This is what FEC has approved and once this is implemented, it will help us create new businesses, particularly micro and small businesses, that have the potential to grow into bigger ones. It will help in the creation of jobs and the creation of wealth. It will be one of the things that will help us in the fight against poverty.”