Home News FEC suspends minimum wage memo, as Tinubu continues consultations

FEC suspends minimum wage memo, as Tinubu continues consultations

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has stepped down from consideration and deliberation on the memo on the new minimum wage to allow President Bola Tinubu engage in more consultation with stakeholders, according to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris.

While briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting at the State House, Abuja in Tuesday, Idris said the President has studied the report submitted by the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage and would consult further before a final submission on a new national minimum wage to the National Assembly.

He said: “I want to inform Nigerians here that the Federal Executive Council deliberated on that (the report of the tripartite committee on the new national minimum wage).

“The decision is that because the new national minimum wage is not just that of the Federal Government. It is an issue that involves the Federal Government, the state governments, local governments, the organised private sector, and of course, including the organised labour.

“That memo was stepped down to enable Mr. President to consult further, especially with the state governors and the organised private sector, before he makes a presentation [of an executive bill]  to the National Assembly”.

Talks for a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers have been on for a while. The Minimum Wage Act of 2019, which made ₦30,000 the minimum wage, expired in April 2024. The Act should be reviewed every five years to meet with contemporary economic demands of workers.

In January, President Tinubu set up a Tripartite Committee to negotiate a new minimum wage for workers. The committee comprises the organised labour, representatives of federal and state governments as well as the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

However, the committee members failed to reach an agreement on a new realistic minimum wage for workers, forcing labour to declare an indefinite industrial action on Monday, 3 June 2024. Businesses were paralysed as labour shut down airports, hospitals, the national grid, banks, National Assembly, and state assemblies’ complexes.

The labour unions said the current minimum wage of N30,000 can no longer cater to the wellbeing of an average Nigerian worker, saying government should offer workers something economically realistic in tandem with current inflationary pressures, attendant effects of the twin policies of petrol subsidy removal and unification of the forex windows of the current administration.

Labour “relaxed” its strike the next day following assurances from the President that he was committed to a wage above N60,000.

Both the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) leadership subsequently resumed talks with the representatives of the Federal Government, states, and the OPS.

On Friday, 7 June, the two sides (labour and the government) still failed to reach an agreement. While labour dropped again its demand from N494,000 to ₦250,000, the government added N2,000 to its initial N60,000 and offered workers N62,000.

Both sides submitted their reports to the President who is expected to make a decision and send an executive bill to the National Assembly to pass a new minimum wage bill to be signed into law by the President.

In his Democracy Day speech on 12 June, the President assured the organised labour that an executive bill on the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be sent to the National Assembly for passage.

The President is expected to make a decision on the N62,000 proposal of the government and private sector side; and the ₦250,000 demand of the organised labour.

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