The average worker in Nigerian will agree that the current national minimum wage of 18,000 Naira is long overdue for a raise. On Workers Day, BusinessDay described the minimum wage as ‘one of the lowest in the world.’
But it seems the Federal government is no longer in denial and is now ready to make some headway in making adjustments to the national minimum wage.
On Friday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, admitted that a new national minimum wage ‘has become imperative.’ He also revealed the plans being made towards the achievement of this goal — although it looks like it’s going to be a long ride.
Breakdown of how a new national minimum wage will be set
A technical committee of 16 members, headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was set up to come up with recommendations on the minimum wage. They recently concluded their report and submitted it to the overseeing 29-man ‘joint committee.’
The minister said the joint committee only adopted the report last week.
The next thing will be to present the report to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval. This should happen next week, precisely Wednesday, according to The Guardian.
Once the report is approved, the Acting President will then form another committee — National Minimum Wage Review Committee. It is this committee that will now fix a new national minimum wage for the country.
Don’t get it twisted. It’s not as if the government is so excited about raising the national minimum wage. It’s mostly out of obligation.
The thing is, the present minimum wage which was signed into law by former president Goodluck Jonathan only had a lifespan of five years, and according to Ngige, it has elapsed since August 2016. Hence, the need for a review.
Nonetheless, it’s still a welcome development; and what’s more is that once it’s passed into law, it will have to be adopted by both private and public institutions.
This decision is a big one and will require the participation of several stakeholders before a final decision is made.
According to Pulse, Ngige listed the private sector, employers of labor, government and governors, among those who would be involved in the discussion.
“We must all sit together and come out with an acceptable agreement,” he said.
If you recall, last year, labor submitted a proposal of N56,000 and N90,000 to the Federal Government as the new minimum wage. While we hope these proposed figures are put into consideration, we can only speculate at the moment.