• State govts canvass revenue formula review
James Ojo, Abuja
Civil servants may have to wait longer than September as the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said that that is when a report on the matter is expected.
Speaking on third year anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, at his residence, in Abuja, yesterday, Ngige told newsmen that the 30-man committee on the new National Minimum Wage, which now includes state governments as well as the private sector, will conclude work by the end of September and present a report for deliberation and approval; before it is sent for appropriate legislative framework.
“September date is to submit our report from where an Executive Bill will be sent to the National Assembly. Minimum wage is the baseline of what to pay by employers… State governments are part of the 30-man committee,” Ngige said.
The minister revealed that, in the course of zonal public hearings, many state governments made different submissions ranging from N22, 000 monthly to N58, 000, and that state governors believe that for the new minimum wage to become effective, the current revenue allocation formula will have to be reviewed, in favour of the states and local governments.
He also added that the capacity to pay was paramount in deliberations on the minimum wage, and pointed out that because
it was to get the input of all concerned, including state governments, and the organised private sector, that was why the committee embarked on zonal public hearings across the country.
Senator Ngige also disclosed that some states insisted the extant minimum wage should be maintained at N18, 000; against the backdrop of inability of some states to pay current salaries.
He said although it was not an easy task, “the committee is still making progress, with the inclusion of the Organised Private Sector and six governors.”
On the threat of non-teaching staff of universities to resume their suspended strike as a result of government’s failure to honour the terms of their agreement, the minister disclosed that the federal government is sourcing N6 billion needed to pay them their earned allowances, as contained in the agreement. He also assured that more employment opportunities would be created at the lower cadre of the public sector so as to reduce the level of unemployment in the country.
The minister disclosed how the federal government has been employing through agencies and departments to fill vacant positions.
He said it was wrong to say that government was not creating new jobs and insisted that more jobs are created at the lower levels when vacancies occur.