James Ojo, Abuja

As the controversy over the minimum wage continues to linger, Federal government has warned Organised Labour not to capitalise on it to precipitate crisis in the country.

Issuing the warning yesterday, while welcoming new Director General (DG) of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) Mr. Timothy Olawale and his predecessor, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, in his office, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said Nigeria can’t afford rounds of labour crisis.

Director of Press in the ministry, Samuel Olowookere in a statement stated that the minister insisted that it has become imperative for the organised labour to accept a new national minimum wage.

Ngige declared that the figure proposed by government was based on the capacity and the ability of both the government and the private sector to pay, which he explained, was in line with social dialogue and the overall interest of the nation.

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The minister further charged NECA to weigh its influence on the Organised Labour to accede to the new national minimum wage figure mutually agreeable to all the partners.

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NECA is one of the tripartite committee working to arrive at a minimum wage for workers in both public and private sectors of the economy.

“We need to arrive at a figure, which the employers can afford to pay as an employee cannot fix a figure for the employer. Rather, the tripartite partners must base it on collective bargaining and mutual agreement.

“It is not a function of moving motions or voting at the National Tripartite Negotiation committee to insist that the figure must be as the organized labour appears to make it look,” Ngige said.

According to him, there was no need to heat up the polity because the proposed new wage figure by the Federal government as N24, 000 “was based on critical facts and indices incapable of causing disequilibrium in the economy or upturning the national social order.”

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Tasking the new NECA boss, Ngige charged him to exceed the impressive record of his predecessor.
He emphasised the need for the establishment of more NECA offices across the country so that more employers association can register with the organisation.

“This is in line with the focus of our labour administration, as well as, in tandem with the economic policies of the present administration,” he said. “The numerous private sector employers who are informal need to be brought on board the formalised private sector employers’ body.”