Minimum Wage:Nigerians Awaits For The Report Of The Tripartite Committee; Edun Says Workers Will Smile

 By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 Barely one week after President Bola Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state had directed Wale Edun, minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy to prepare and present a template for a new national minimum wage, he may he have had at the back of his mind that he is the only person who is in a better position to do it without being faulted as the custodian of the finance of the nation.

Edun, minister of Finance

The Nigerian President who is in a haste to settle the national minimum wage issue once and for all to forestall the striking unions from going back to the trenches that would further strangulate economy which according Mohammad Sanusi, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and reinstalled Emir of Kano, by Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf of the ruling Nigerian National People’s Party, NNPP, had been mismanaged in the eight years of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.

The former CBN, governor had said that it will time for the economy to be fixed by the present Tinubu’s Administration. As a prelude to ensuring that Festus Osifo, President Trade Union Congress, TUC and Joe Ajaero, his Counterpart in the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC,  did not drag the workers out again that might worsen the economy which had not recovered from the 24 hours’ strike, that led to the shut down of the National Grid, closure of  seaports and airports across the country  for scheduled flights which affected  the operations of  both the  local and international airlines as their passengers were not allowed access to the airports.

This may have sent a signal to the Nigerian President that urgent step has to be taken to address the minimum wage issue without further delay and who in turn had directed the Finance minister ‘’to calculate the figures on Tuesday, June 5, 202, and get back to him within two days so that the Tripartite Committee on minimum wage can have some figure ready for negotiations with Labour.

George Akume, a former governor of Benue state and now Secretary to Government of the Federation may had hinted at a meeting with the Labour Leaders on same Tuesday, June,4, 2024 that, the former Lagos state governor is ready to approve more than the N60,000.00 monthly wage bill as the new  minimum wage proposed by the tripartite Committee, described as acting out the script of the government  by labour .

Akume, the SFG, may have gladdened the heart of the Labour Leaders when he told them at the Tuesday. June 4 , meeting before the Tripartite Committee reconvened on Friday, after the call off of the 24-hours strike, that the President is determined ‘’to  go with  what the Committee  has set this time around that will be acceptable to all the parties.

Sen.Akume: SFG. hints that Tinubu is determined to pay above N60,000.00 minimum wage

True to the Presidential directive, the minister of Finance,   and his team, which includes Meele Kolo Kyari, the Borno state  born , Group Managing Director, of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC,  now baptized Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL,  with the signing into Law  of the Petroleum Industry Bill , PIB, in August , 2020, were said to swung into action .

Based on figures supplied  the monthly  figures supplied by NNPCL, Customs Service, NCS, under the close watch  of Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, and other  revenue generating agencies including the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, may have informed why  the minister had assured Labour and indeed Nigerians, that there was no cause for alarm, ‘’on the ongoing  negotiations  between the Organised Labour  and tripartite Committee on the new minimum  for Nigerian workers.

Tiubu and IFC delegation in Nigeria

The Finance minister and his team, who were said to have gone back to the drawing board to compute the figures may have completed their work that he and Atiku Bagudu, a former governor of Kebbi state and minister of Budget and Economic Planning had met Tinubu, at the Presidential villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Thursday, June 6, 2024 to furnish him the figures arrived and the cost implication to the country.

The  duo were said to have close held ad door discussion with the President  after  he had hosted a delegation of the International Finance Corporation, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, led by  Makhtar Diop, the Managing Director.  There are indication that Mohammed Idris, minister of Information and National Orientation, Ajuri Ngelale and Zachaeus Adedeji, Chairman, FIRS, were also at the meeting.

The Labour  union Leaders had given the tripartite Committee a cause to worry when they stood their ground   that  that the national minimum wage should not  be anything less than N494,00.00 as Nigerian workers deserve a living wage as against the N60,000.00 proposed and present  by the Committee to Labour for approval.  

Coming from a private sector background to win the February 25, 2023, Presidential election on the ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress,APC, may have strengthened the resolve of the Nigerian President to address the new national wage issue with the expertise it deserves that he had said that  the the ongoing Negotiations should continue daily   for the next one week until an agreement was reached by all the parties involved in the Negotiations for a new minimum wage for the country’s workers.

Akpabio: Senate President

While the Federal Government and Labour, are yet to reach a truce on a new national minimum wage, Godswill Akpabio, immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom state and now President of the Nigeria upper Chamber, Senate,  has approved a bill  seeking improved salaries, allowances  and fringe befits  of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, , Justic Olukyode Ariwoola and other  judicial  office holders by 30%, but the tripartite Committee on minimum wage  since November 2023, had found it extremely  difficult to propose a minimum and living wage for Nigerian worker on grounds that the nation’s resources will not be able accommodate it.  

 Although, the Senate President had said that the Lawmakers are waiting to receive the bill on the new national minimum bill from the Presidency to debate and give it the required consideration  but Nigerians are watching to see how the reconvened tripartite meeting now being attended now being attended by striking union Leaders will end.

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