President Muhammadu Buhari has described every Nigerian worker as a vital element in the growth and development of the country.
He made the remark on Monday while inaugurating the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President the work of the committee was very important tasks that will help government achieve its desire of making life better for workers.
“We all know that the last minimum wage instrument has expired and it is in recognition of the need to ensure a fair and decent living wage that the Federal government put in motion the necessary mechanism so that we can today inaugurate this large committee with a big task ahead,” he said.
The President recalled that the inauguration of the committee was in line with the recommendations of the technical committee set up in May 2016 to look into ways of cushioning the effects of the increase in price of petroleum products on workers and the general public.
“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,” he stated.
The Nigerian leader expressed optimism that the outcome and recommendations of the tripartite committee would be acceptable because it consists of all stakeholders like the federal and state governments as well as the organized labour and private sector employers.
“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. 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.” he said.
President Buhari noted that the final decision of government on the new minimum wage would be sent to the National Assembly in form of an executive bill, for legal backing before it becomes a law.
He urged members of the minimum wage committee to deploy the spirit of collective bargain, in line with economic realities and submit their recommendations without delay, in order to give room for completion of all processes and prompt implementation of a new minimum wage.
He said: “Accordingly, conditions of genuine Social Dialogue should prevail in the spirit of Tripartism and Collective Bargaining Agreements. 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. 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.”
In his remarks, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige said he expects the committee to do a good job because it comprises of all the necessary parties.
“This committee is a good blend. It is very exhaustive and will do the work in consonance with the International Labour Organization’s provisions of social dialogue and collective bargaining,” he said.
The 30-man committee has former Head of the Federal Civil Service, Ms Amal Iyingiala Pepple as Chairman, Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige as Deputy Chairman and the Chairman, National Salaries, Income and wages Commission, Mr Richard Egbule will serve as Secretary.