Shettima inaugurates committee on national minimum wage
Vice President Kashim Shettima on Tuesday inaugurated a 37-man Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage with a mandate to recommend a new wage for the country.
Shettima while inaugurating the committee at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, reaffirmed the determination of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to improve the welfare of workers in the country.
The Vice President, who noted that the labour force stands as the cornerstone of the progress of every nation, welcomed the nominees of the committee comprising government employers and the labour unions.
He said that since the removal of the fuel subsidy various committees had been established and made recommendations to the government on measures to cushion the painful effect of the increase on workers and Nigerians at large.
“I am pleased to share that action has since commenced on the implementation of the outcome of those agreements and initiatives.
“This gathering stems from the deliberations of one of the technical committees including representatives from both government and the organised labour.
“We have identified the need for the review of the National Minimum Wage and to consider a minimum wage level that can alleviate the sufferings of the people.
“It gladdens my heart that the recommendation is being acted upon today and we can all acknowledge this is in line with our democractic process and adherence to the rule of law.”
Shettima noted that given the comprehensive membership scope of the new national minimum wage committee, in includes that all stakeholders recognise the significance of the initiative.
“And to ensure substantial engagements, the President hereby directs that Ministers and Head of Service of the Federation should personally attend the meetings, in their unavoidably absence, their Permanent Secretaries should represent them.
“Similarly, our executive governors are expected to attend in persons or be represented by their deputies where necessary.”
He urged members of the committee to consider the issue of the national minimum wage and all related matters with thoroughness and concerns, keeping in mind not only the welfare of the workforce but also the impact on the country’s economy.
He said that the issue of the national minimum wage for the federation falls within the Exclusive Legislative list of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“Therefore, our objective should be to surface the basic social protection for all Nigerian workers considering the sustainable payment capacity of each tiers of government and other employers or businesses.
“I express this view point because the minimum wage represents the least amount of compensation an employee should receive for their labour.
“And in such, it should be rooted in social justice and equity. I hope that the result of your deliberations will be consensual and acceptable to all parties on board.”
He disclosed that the government’s decision following the consideration of the final recommendations of the committee would be presented as an executive bill to the National Assembly.
“The bill enriched by the contributions of state government and private sector employers will undergo thorough legislative scrutiny before being passed into law.
“I am hopeful that the committee will employ the principle of full consultation with social partners and their direct participation considering the core provision of the International Labour Organisation Minimum Wage Fixing Convention number 131 and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Conversation number 26, both of which have been ratified by Nigeria.”
The vice president said that the committee was anticipated to conclude its deliberations promptly and submit its reports and recommendations to the government.
He noted that timely submission of the reports was very crucial to initiate the necessary processes for implementing a new national minimum wage.
Shettima revealed that President Tinubu had directed the Minister of Finance as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy to allocate essential funds and logistics to the committee, to ensure timely completion of the assignment.
Earlier, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, said that the work of the committee would be instrumental in shaping the economic landscape of the country.
”Today, we take another crucial step in fulfilling that promise by embarking on a comprehensive review of the national minimum wage.
“The Minimum Wage Act of 2019 empowers this Tripartite Committee, composed of representatives of government, organised labour, and employers to engage in open and constructive dialogue, to arrive at a fair and sustainable minimum wage.
“This process is not merely about numbers, it is about recognising the dignity of work and ensuring that all Nigerians have the opportunity to earn a living wage to meet their basic needs.”
Responding, the Chairman of the committee, Bukar Goni-Aji, assured that the committee would work assiduously to arrive at the new minimum wage that is fair, practical, implementable and sustainable for the good of the country.
“I want to assure your excellency that with the kind of personalities you have assembled today to handle this assignment, I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to do justice to this exercise.
“All the expertise required to do this exercise; all the knowledge required to do this exercise are in this committee and I want to thank his excellency for the choice of personalities that I see to undertake this exercise.”