A new twist has emerged concerning the fate of Nigerian workers just after the approval of the new minimum wage by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This development show that the approval of the new minimum wage was successful but there is another obstacle on the way to ensuring that the workers get the new amount approved.
According to The Punch, the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage bill signed into law by President Buhari has been hit by some bottlenecks.
Throwing more light on the issue, officials of some state governments told Saturday PUNCH that they had yet to receive the documents containing the implementation guidelines from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, almost 10 days after the wage bill was signed into law.
The development is said to be hindering the commencement of negotiations between officials of state governments and the organised labour in the various states. The Trade Union Congress Chairman, Bobboi Kaigama, had last week said that although workers appreciated President Buhari for signing the Minimum Wage Bill into law, the template should be released immediately by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission so that organised labour could have consequential discussion on the increases.
On its on part, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission told one of our correspondents on Thursday that it was still awaiting the Presidency to release a copy of the Act to enable it to prepare the memo for state governments.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Mr Emma Njoku, confirmed that a signed copy of the Act was still being expected by the commission. He said once the new minimum wage act was received from the presidency, the commission would issue a circular for the implementation of the new minimum wage.
He said, “We are expecting the presidency to send us a signed version of the new minimum wage Act. As soon as we get it, we will issue the circular for its implementation.”
In a bid to hear from the Presidency on the issue, one of his spokespersons was contacted. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, told Saturday PUNCH that what was most important was that Buhari had directed that the implementation of the new wage should start from April.
He noted that in this regard, whether the wages and salaries commission issued a circular or not was not the issue. “Circular or no circular, minimum wage is N30,000, starting from April. Read the President’s speech”, Shehu said.
Another aide to President Buhari gave his own view on the matter too and offered some clarifications. When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, said, “I will not speak on it. If there is anything on their part (NSIWC), they should contact the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation or the appropriate agency of government.
“It will not be appropriate to be responding in the media to what an individual has said as an opinion. The AGF’s office and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation are there; so they (wages commission) can make contacts on any issues.”
Attempts were made to get clarification from AGF Abubakar Malami on the issue. However, repeated calls placed to the AGF’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, between Thursday and Friday and a text message requesting his reaction as to why his principal had yet to forward the new Minimum Wage Act to the NSIWC were not answered.
Will the workers start getting payment of the N30,000 any moment soon? This controversy on its implementation is expected to be settled so that the efforts of those who fought and worked for the new minimum wage will not be in vain.
What are your thoughts on this story?