The hope of Nigerian workers getting a new minimum wage this year brightened last weekend as indications emerged that the Minimum Wage Committee may round off its deliberations on August 21.
Addressing workers in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, at the closing ceremony of the 16th Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Rain School, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said all the tripartite members of the committee have agreed that the discussion should end on August 21.
According to the NLC President, the report would be dispatched immediately to the presidency for signature and subsequently to the National Assembly for accelerated hearing.
“Between now and August 21, our committee is expected to meet once or twice before then to put everything in proper perspective. But there is a clear understanding that every deliberation must end on the 21st of this month,” he said.
Wabba, who was apologetic for his failure to attend the opening ceremony of the Rain School last week Monday, explained that the decision was taken at the committee’s meeting same day.
He said, “I have good news for you, as I’m happy to let you know that my inability to be with you at the opening ceremony was to take care of things equally important to all the Nigerian workers.
The Minimum Wage Committee was fixed for that day and at the meeting, we’ve agreed that our deliberation must be concluded on August 21.”
Wabba said it was important that Nigerian workers get the new wage this year, noting that the August date has further made it more possible.
Though he refused to reveal the amount the committee may be ratifying as the new minimum wage, he affirmed that all the committee members shared the thought that there is need for a new wage for Nigerian workers.
He said, “we have concluded all discussions and now on the verge of putting our thoughts together but whatever the decision, everybody is convinced that workers deserve new wage,” he said.
Nigeria’s organised labour had warned that it would not tolerate the minimum wage being dragged beyond September, after the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said that the September date may not be feasible.
But Wabba said the committee concluding earlier than September date, shows Nigerian workers may get the new wage by September as earlier proposed.