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Buhari inaugurates committee on minimum wage.

President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee with a call on them to negotiate in good faith.

Performing the ceremony at at the Council Chamber of the presidential villa, Abuja on Monday, he also advised the committee to take into consideration both the interest of the worker and what the economy can accommodate.

Buhari observed that like his counterpart all over the world, the Nigerian worker was a vital element in the growth and development of modern nations.

While welcoming the committee's nominees, he observed that the last Minimum Wage Instrument has expired, and it was in recognition of the need to ensure a fair and decent living wage that the Federal Government put in motion necessary mechanism which enabled the inauguration of the large committee which he said has a big task ahead of them.

The president said: 'You are all aware that during the period following the increase in Petrol Pump Price in May 2016, a Technical Committee was established to examine and make recommendations to Government on the measures to be adopted to cushion the envisaged painful effects of the increase on workers and the Nigerian populace at large.

'During the deliberations of the Technical Committee which comprised Government and Organized Labour, the need for the review of the National Minimum Wage was highlighted and recommendation to set up a committee to look into the level of minimum wage was made accordingly. I am glad that the recommendation is being acted upon today and we can all acknowledge that this is in line with our democratic process. I wish to thank all those who participated in that exercise.

'Considering the scope of the membership of this new National Minimum Wage Committee we can see that it is encompassing all stakeholders.

'My hope is that, the outcome of the deliberations of the Committee would be consensual and generally acceptable. I therefore urge you to amicably consider the issue of a National Minimum Wage and all matters that are ancillary to it with thoroughness and concern not only for the welfare of our work-force but the effect on the country's economy.

'The subject of a National Minimum Wage for the Federation is within the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). Accordingly, we should aim to go above the basic Social Protection Floor for all Nigerian workers based on the ability of each tier of Government to pay.

'I say this because minimum wage is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for putting in his or her labour and as such should be anchored on Social Justice and Equity.

'Government's decision after considering your final recommendation will be sent as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for it to undergo appropriate legislative scrutiny before passage into law.

'As is evident by the membership of the Committee, State Governors and Private Sector Employers are part of this process. This will ensure ease of implementation of a new Minimum Wage nationwide.'

President Buhari was hopeful that the principles of full consultation with Social Partners and their direct participation would be utilized by the Committee, bearing in mind the core provisions of the International Labour Organization Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No.26 (ratified by Nigeria).

'Accordingly, conditions of genuine Social Dialogue should prevail in the spirit of Tripartism and Collective Bargaining Agreements, said, adding: 'I therefore enjoin you all to collectively bargain in good faith, have mutual recognition for each other and always in a spirit of give and take.'

Buhari noted that the Committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations as soon as possible to enable other requisite machinery to be set in motion for implementation of a new National Minimum Wage.

The committee consists of nominees from the public sector, (Federal and State Governments) and the private sector.

It is headed by former Head of Service and Minister of Housing, Ama Pepple, with Minister of Labour and employment, Chris Ngige as deputy chairman.

The federal government team is led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who is deputy chairman, while the chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission,Chief Richard Egbule, will serve as secretary.

Others in the the federal government team are the minister, Budget and Planning, Udo Udo Udoma; minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita; permanent secretary, General Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Roy Ugo.

A team from the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) includes Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola (South West), Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha (Souh East), Gombe State governor, Hassan Dankwambo (North East), Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike (South South), Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong (North Central), and Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (North West), while the director-general of NGF, A. B. Okauru will be an observer.

On the trade union's side, the president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, leads a team that include, comrades Peters Adeyemi, Kiri Mohammed, Amechi Asugwuni, Peter Ozo-Eson .

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) team, led by its president, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama , has comrades in its fold; Sunday Olusoji Salako, Alade Bashir Lawa, and Igwe Achese, the president, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)

On the employers' side are the director-general, Nigeria Employers' Consultative Association (NECA), Mr Olusegun Oshinowo, Mr Timothy Olawale (NECA), Mr. Chuma Nwankwo (NECA); Mr Olubunmi Adekoje, DG, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI); Alhaji Ahmed Ladan Gobir, chairman, Kaduna East Branch, Manufacturers' Association (MAN), Otunba Francis Oluwagbenro (MAN); Hajia Muheeba Dankaka, president, Kano Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Prince Degun Agboade, president, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Nov 27, 2017
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