By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The Federal Government has denied media reports that it has agreed on N30,000 minimum wage with the organised labour.
This was disclosed by the minister of labour and productivity, Chris Ngige, Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, negotiations are still ongoing as they are yet to come to an agreement, pointing out that state governors and all principal actors have to be carried along.
He further explained that during negotiations with organised labour the figures were adjusted” as the labour unions adjusted their figures and came down to 30,000 per month, organised private’s sectors also adjusted their figures from 25,000 which they had earlier proposed to N30,000.
Noting that governors had their own figure, which was different from the figure of the federal government, Ngige said both the federal government and state governors figures were also presented.
However, he pointed out that everything was taken into consideration saying the cardinal principle of wage fixing mechanism under the ILO is the ability to pay .
According to him, the issue of minimum wage under convention 131, the fixing mechanism takes that into account and also says that there must be a consensual agreement.
He stated”So we have a figure of the federal government and the state government have theirs. The state government figure at the last time was N20,000, the Federal government had a figure of N24,000 and that was where we all stood.
“This negotiation took into account this irreducible offers on the different governments but we could not arrive at a consensus. Even though we adjourned our meeting and said we will put up a report that will reflect this position, we are still continuing to discuss informally to see if we can arrive at a common figure.
“National Salaries and Incomes and Wages Commission have also done…for the government and presented to the economic management team, so discussions are still ongoing and that is where we are.
“This information becomes very pertinent because I saw all your papers, the dailies yesterday awash with the news that we have all agreed on N30,000, that is not true, the federal government has not agreed on N30,000.
“The federal government is also carrying the states along with them because a lot of the workers are in the states and its a very sensitive matter, we cannot..because the issue of minimum wage is item 34 and an exclusive legislation by the Federal Government is carrying in its own team.
“So its a bi-focal arrangement when it comes to the federal government. ion by the federal government through the National Assembly to go and fix an amount which the states will find difficult to pay resulting may be in retrenchment of workers in the states.
While stating that the government doesn’t want any retrenchment, Ngige noted that President Buhari has always reiterated that no worker should retrenched for as long as this administration is on.
He added ” No worker will be denied his promotion for as long as this administration is on and recruitment to replace people who have retired or people who are dead should continue to be done so that we face the issue of unemployment and do what we can through such recruitment. So this is the situation.
During his briefing, Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing,Suleiman Hassan said the council approved N5 billion for the award of contract for the construction of Kagigi, Jaro, Goraye, and Takwaco road in Sokoto state.
” This is a 28.75 kilometer road joining Sokoto and Zamfara states. It is in a very good agricultural zone. It will able to ferry agricultural goods and humna traffic between these two states and onto the neighbouring countries of Niger, and Benin Republic.
“These contract is awarded to messrs Sky Technical and Construction company limited at the cost of N5.202billion,” he stated.