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Labour, Tripartite C’ttee Trade Words Over Minimum Wage

17 June

Reported by Ayooluwa Afolabi

The Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage, Bukar Goni Aji, has asked the Labour Congress to reconsider the amount it demanded as minimum wage, citing the prevailing economic situation in the country.

He listed such incentives as the N35,000 wage award for all treasury-paid federal workers, N100 billion for procurement of gas-fuelled buses and conversion to gas kits, the N125 billion conditional grant, financial inclusion to small and medium scale enterprises and the N25,000 each to be shared to 15 million households for three months as reasons Labour should accept the N62,000 offered by the government, against its demand of N250,000.

But Labour in a swift reaction, accused the Tripartite Committee chairman of lacking knowledge of the hardship and suffering workers and other Nigerians were going through.

Recall that the Organised Labour is a member of the tripartite committee of a new minimum wage.

Labour’s reaction came as Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, said lean resources were responsible for governors’ rejection of N62,000 minimum wage.

This is even as the Anglican Communion yesterday asked the federal and state governments to pay workers a living wage, charging them to maintain fiscal prudence and accountability.

However, the Tripartite Committee chairman also cited the N185 billion palliatives loans to states to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal and N200 billion to support the cultivation of hectares of land to boost food production.

He said there is another N75 billion to strengthen the manufacturing sector and N1 trillion for student loans for higher education.

He cited the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of grains from strategic reserves and purchase and onward distribution of 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the millers’ association.

Goni urged Labour to consider the recent salary increase of 25 per cent and 35 per cent on all consolidated salary structures for federal workers and the 90 per cent subsidy on health costs for federal civil servants registered on the health insurance programme and accept the N62,000 being offered by the Federal Government.
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