The National Council of State has approved N27,000 as the minimum wage for the country. In this light, The council approved the amount at its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
Following the Council’s approval, a minimum wage bill is expected to be sent to the National Assembly on Wednesday. According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, the Federal Government is topping the approved amount by N3,000 to 30,000 for its workers.
He said the states are at liberty to augment the new agreement as they see fit. The amount approved by the Council of State is N3,000 short of the N30,000 that the Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage recommended.
The committee, chaired by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Ama Pepple, had submitted the report, which contained the recommended figure, to President Muhammadu Buhari on November 6, 2018, after many months of deliberations.
Prior to the committee’s recommendation, in October, state governors had offered to pay N22,500 as minimum wage.
Nine days after the committee recommended N30,000, on November 15, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum insisted that the states cannot pay the amount, leading to criticism by organised Labour which insisted on N30,000.
On January 8, 2019, the Nigeria Labour Congress held a nationwide protest over what it said was the delay by the Federal Government to transmit a new minimum wage bill to the National Assembly.
The reports that the meeting which lasted for about three hours, was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Abdulsalami Abubakar and the former Head of the Interim Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Others, who attended the meeting included three former Chief Justices of Nigeria, namely; Muhammadu Uwais, Alfa Belgore and Mahmud Mohammed while Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnogen, former military President Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Yakubu Gowon were however absent at the meeting.