New Minimum Wage: State Governments not Proactive, says Ngige

Chris Ngige

New Minimum Wage: State Governments not Proactive, says Ngige

Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment, says some state governments are not proactive in preparation for payment of the new minimum wage once negotiations are finalized.

He also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the relevant government officials and agencies to expedite action on the Consequential Adjustment Negotiations on Minimum Wage.

He also approved the constitution of the Presidential Committee on Salaries and Allowances to handle all requests after the conclusion of Consequential Adjustment Negotiations.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this when the Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit.

Ngige said: “My department of the inspectorate, as well as employment and wage, are going to do more. We are going to fund them so that we can start full factory inspection and make sure that nobody is underemployed and that those in employment get what they deserve in the world of work, so they can have decent work.

“Part of it is the new minimum wage, which the president signed in April. It is a pity that after signing it, May came and a lot of us were sent on compulsory leave. We are now coming back from leave. If you remember, a committee was set up and I was a member.

“When we left, the permanent secretary took our place and were negotiating with the joint negotiating council on the consequential adjustment. The states are waiting for that and it is not proper for us not to fast-track that negotiation so that even the states will not have too much backlog to pay when the consequential adjustment is concluded.

“We have our own budgeted for in the 2019 budget and we are going to also budget for it in the 2020 budget. We are concerned about the states because some of the states are not proactive like us.

“So, the sooner we conclude at the federal level and the joint negotiating councils in the states take it from there and negotiate with the states the better for everybody. If it spills this into next year, I am not sure how many states will be able to pay the backlog which will lead us to another round of negotiation.”

Ngige added, “It is the determination of the president and this administration to fast-track the negotiation on consequential adjustment. I have just received a correspondence from the chief of staff to the president and we are putting a deadline to that negotiation.

“We are fast-tracking it because the government will also want to put in place a presidential committee on salaries and allowances that will be able to take request after this consequential adjustment.”

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