29-04-2019 /2019-04-27/New Minimum Wage: Implementation may suffer setback as AGF delays process
New Minimum Wage: Implementation may suffer setback as AGF delays process
The implementation of the new National Minimum Wage bill signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari has been hit by some bottlenecks, Saturday PUNCH can reveal.
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 told Saturday PUNCH that although workers appreciated President Muhammadu 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.
However, 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."
But, when 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.
When also 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.
READ ALSO: I can give Teddy A my kidney -Bam Bam
"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."
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.
We'll mount pressure to release wage template -Labour
Meanwhile, the organised labour has indicated plans to put necessary pressure on the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to release the template to state governments.
The Vice Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Sunday Salako, said organised labour would continue to put pressure on the necessary agency of government over the delay in the release of template for the new Minimum Wage to the state governments.
He said, "Organised labour will not rest in the pursuit of the new minimum wage issue. Of course, we will mount the pressure. Once the organised labour has information on the reason for the delay, we will write to the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission. I am sure that the chairman will not want to see the other side of labour."
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, has said the first assignment of the new state executives is to negotiate how the new minimum wage would be paid in their states.
He, however, said that all states were not expected to pay the same amount to workers.
"Each state council of the NLC will opens negotiations with the state government. We just conducted the state council elections. The new leadership that emerged in various states will open negotiations with state governments as their first assignment," he noted.
Officials of 24 states who spoke to Saturday PUNCH expressed the willingness to pay the new minimum wage but said certain conditions and agreements must be reached with labour unions and the Federal Government.
They also said they were waiting for the implementation template from the Federal Government.
Some of the states were Benue, Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti.
Other states are Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Plateau.
Adeniyi Adesina, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, in a chat with one of our correspondents, said the state was waiting for the guidelines for the implementation of the new wage before responding.
Adesina said, "The state is waiting for the Federal Government's implementation guidelines to enable it (Osun) to respond."
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Simon Lalong on Media and Publicity, Mr Mark Longyen, said the payment would only start after the government had made the necessary arrangement, including negotiations with the workers, to ensure the smooth take-off of the policy in the state.
He said, "There are some things that need to be sorted out before government begins the payment of the minimum wage. For instance, government will need to interface with the state labour congress in order to iron out any grey area and come up with modalities for implementation."
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: New minimum wage law and political hurdles before state governments
Also, the Katsina State Government said it was still awaiting a circular from the NSIWC, which would specifically state how much should be paid as minimum wage to workers, adding that there was nothing the state could do without the circular.
"You can't build something on nothing," the official declared, pointing out that the circular was the real working paper for the implementation of the new minimum wage."
he is a seasoned educationist. He obtained his bachelor degree from Obafemi Awolowo University. He has written many educational articles on different blogs
we are eductional consultant services company. thank you.