‘MINIMUM WAGE WON’T BE READY BY SEPT.’ – NGIGE

Workers’ expectations of getting a new national minimum wage by the end of September would not materialise, Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige said yesterday.

He explained that the September date is just for conclusion of negotiation on the issue of the minimum wage.

Ngige, in an interview with reporters yesterday at his home in Abuja, said the committee on the new minimum wage is expected to conclude its work by the end of September and its report will be thereafter presented for deliberation.

This, he added, will be followed by an approval before an Executive Bill will be presented to the National Assembly on the issue.

He noted that the issue of availability of funds to pay the new wage would be paramount in the deliberations.

Ngige said the committee embarked on zonal public hearing across the country to get the input of those concerned, including state governments and the organised private sector.

The minister said in the course of the zonal public hearings, many state governments made different submissions ranging from N22,000 monthly minimum wage to N58,000.

The minister added that the governors were also of the opinion that for the new minimum wage to become effective, the present revenue allocation formula would have to be reviewed in favour of the states and local governments.

He said some other states submitted that the minimum wage should be maintained at the present N18,000 in view of the inability of some states to pay the wages.

Ngige said when the minimum wage committee concludes its report, it would be submitted to the National Council of State and the Federal Executive Council for approval before a bill is sent to the National Assembly to legalise the committee’s work.

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