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Tinubu directs Edun to give cost of new minimum wage, as Falana tasks AGF on suing states that will refuse implementation of new wage
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Tinubu directs Edun to give cost of new minimum wage, as Falana tasks AGF on suing states that will refuse implementation of new wage

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President Bola Tinubu yesterday gave marching orders to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, to prepare the cost implications of a new minimum wage and present an affordable, sustainable and realistic figure today.

According to him, the government’s new offer must be ready today as the basis of negotiation with organised labour.

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He also directed those involved in the negotiation to expedite action, so that everything on the new minimum wage could be concluded as soon as possible.

Recall that the Federal Government had given offers of N48,000, N57,000 and N60,000, which Labour rejected and embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike on Monday but suspended yesterday.

Tinubu gave the order when he summoned the Federal Government’s representatives in the tripartite committee on new minimum wage to a meeting in his office yesterday.

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Those at the meeting with the President were the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun; the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris; and GMD/CEO, of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company limited, CEO, NNPCL, Mele Kyari.

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said the meeting was summoned by President Tinubu to look at the contentious issues and find amicable solutions to them.

On how the Federal Government’s team had been negotiating with the organized labour and if the issue could be resolved within the next seven days, the minister said: “It has been quite challenging but we thank God that we are at this point. We thank labour that its leaders have suspended the strike early this morning (yesterday).

“On government’s side, the President has just summoned a meeting of all those negotiating on behalf of the Federal Government, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and the Minister of Finance was there, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning. Myself, the Minister of State for Labour, the GMD of the NNPC were all there to look at those issues.

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“The President has directed the Minister of Finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today), so we can have some figures ready for negotiation with labour.

“Let me say that Mr. President is determined to go with what the committee has said. He is also looking at the welfare of Nigerians. Like I have said earlier, government is not an opponent of labour discussions. It is not an opponent of wage increase.

“But what is there is that government is always desirous of ensuring that there is a balance between what government pronouncement is and what realities are on ground and, therefore, will work assiduously to ensure that whatever we do, whatever promises government makes will be kept. That is the idea of this meeting.

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“The President has given a marching order to all those who negotiate on behalf of the government and all those also who are representatives of other sectors, the Organized Private Sector, OPS, the sub-nationals come together, so we can have a new wage award that is acceptable, sustainable and also realistic for Nigeria.

“A wage award is not just that of the federal government, like I mentioned earlier. The subnationals are involved, the OPS is involved, and organised labour is involved. It was a labour that stepped out during those proceedings.

‘’Now that we have come back to the negotiating table, all of us will work together again, seriously within the next one week, to ensure that we have a new wage for Nigeria that is acceptable, sustainable and realistic for all Nigerians”

Similarly, the tripartite committee of a new minimum wage, yesterday at its resumed negotiation, adopted the agenda for the one week continuous negotiation.

At the resumed meeting, a source privy to deliberations, said: “The meeting today (yesterday) was for the adoption of agenda for the one week negotiation.

“Tomorrow (today) is the D-day for them to present what they have. Remember we did not call off the strike but we relaxed it and we will resume (strike) if there is no agreement. So the fireworks will start tomorrow (today).”

Recall that last Friday, before organised labour’s negotiating team, declared indefinite strike on Monday, June 3, it had walked out of the meeting, accusing the Federal Government team of claiming it was unable to reach the President, hence it could not make a fresh offer beyond the initial N60,000.
Labour leaders had walked out of the meetings thrice after rejecting government and the Organised Private Sector’s, OPS, offers.

Friday’s walk-out, which was the third in the course of the negotiations, incidentally was the deadline labour gave government to conclude a new minimum wage as the old minimum wage of N30,000 signed into law by former President Muhammad Buhari on April 18, 2019, expired on April 18, 2024.

Labour’s negotiating team had Tuesday, May 28, for the second time in two weeks, walked out of the committee meeting after the Federal Government increased its offer to N60,000 from the N57, 000 it offered on Wednesday, May 22.

AGF should prosecute states that fail to pay N30,000 minimum wage — Falana

In a similar development, Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN has called on the Attorney-General of the Federation to sanction states that fail to pay the current N30,000 minimum wage.

He said since payment of the minimum wage was an agreement entered into freely, state governments unable to honour such a deal were breaching the law.

Falana, who stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s ‘’Morning Brief’’ programme yesterday, said: “Once a new agreement, a new minimum wage becomes the law of the country, the Federal Government has a duty, and the Attorney-General of the country has a duty to drag any state government that does not pay to court.

“I mean, the Attorney-General can just file a new case, which is a good development, by saying over the years, we have accused state governments of diverting money for local governments.”

He argued that since states have more money after subsidy removal, they cannot claim lack of funds to pay minimum wage.

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