Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Wednesday said the Federal Government cannot accept the N22,500 minimum wage proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
“The governors have not even done enough. I told them that this N22,500 is even rejected by the Federal Government,” says the minister in a phone interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
Ngige’s comments come 24 hours after NGF unanimously agreed to pay Nigerian workers N22,500 as the new minimum wage as against the current N18,000.
Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, said that the decision of the governors was based on the current realities on the ground.
But Ngige criticised the governors for the figure, saying N22,500 is even below the N24, 000 agreement by the Federal Government.
He, however, said that all parties on the ground would resume back on negotiations to see that the welfare of the workers was met.
“The national minimum wage is a national legislation being driven by the Federal Government of Nigeria in pursuance to item 34 of the Exclusive Legislative list. But you don’t go and make a law which people will disobey at the initial.
“If you make a law and hoax a figure that is not agreeable, which people don’t have the capacity or ability to pay because the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says in those negotiations, the principle is the ability to pay,” the minister stated.
Ngige lamented that the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee, Ms. Amal Pepple was not in the country, explaining that despite her absence for two weeks for a medical check-up, the Federal Government would convene partners involved in the minimum wage to deliberate on the issue and arrive on the same page.
Although workers are demanding N30,000 as minimum wage, the minister said that any industrial action being embarked on the aggrieved workers would not resolve the issues at stake.