Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Economic Management Team, which is chaired by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is to hold a special meeting on Tuesday to deliberate on a new minimum wage regime.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Friday.
The Chairman of the Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee and former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms. Amma Pepple, who was also at the State House to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the progress made by her committee, also said a report on the new minimum wage would soon be submitted to the President.
Ngige, who described as uncharitable the allegation that the government was playing game with the minimum wage, promised that the new minimum wage regime would be in place before the 2019 general elections.
He said, “Next week, we have an economic management team meeting on Tuesday, specially dedicated to the issue of national minimum wage and it would be chaired by the Vice-President.
“For anybody to say that this government is stalling or playing games will be uncharitable, because we have done what we are supposed to do.
“We have the interest of workers at heart; we have not retrenched anybody, there is no embargo on employment, there is no embargo on promotions, we are paying backlog of promotional arrears, we are backing backlog of transfers and repatriation and the rest of them and we are giving them houses under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing programme and the like.
“This government is labour-friendly and we will must put smiles on their faces before the next election. We are labour activists and we don’t want to turn our backs on them.”
On her part, Pepple said her committee would submit its report to the President before the end of September. She added, “Everything is on course but we need a definite figure from government and of course we have to carry the states along. So, we need those figures so that we can conclude on the figures we include in our report.”
The organised labour had demanded an increase in the N18,000 national minimum wage to N56,000.
The President subsequently in November 2017 inaugurated the National Minimum Wage Committee to recommend a new national minimum wage.
The organised labour recently issued a two-week ultimatum to government to conclude negotiation on the issue.
But earlier on Thursday, Ngige had alleged that the organised labour was blackmailing and intimidating government to adopt an unrealistic minimum wage.
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