- The Nigerian federal government has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to discard the December 31 ultimatum
- Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture made the appeal after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari
- The organised labour had issued the ultimatum following Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up
The federal government has enjoined the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to discard the December 31 ultimatum issued over lingering disagreement between organised labour and state governments on the proposed N30,000 national minimum wage.
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The organised labour on Thursday, December 20, gave the ultimatum following Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up to device ways to ensure that implementation of the new minimum wage would not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.
The president stated this on Wednesday, December 19, when he presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N8.83trillion at the joint session of the National Assembly.
However, the president of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who addressed newsmen on Thursday, expressed organized labour’s reservation over Buhari’s position, saying that setting up a technical committee could not be a condition for passing the minimum wage report to the National Assembly.
“We reject in its entirety the plan to set up another high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics.”
But, Lai, who described the NLC as “a very patriotic union’’, said he was confident the organized labour would not do anything to embarrass the government or Nigerians.
He said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress is a very patriotic union and I am very confident that they will not do anything that will embarrass the government or do anything that is going to worsen the situation.
“Continuous engagement, I think, is the key. We will continue to engage them and I think they do also fully understand what the challenges are, and both parties are determined to ensure that a common ground is arrived at which will be comfortable for all.’’
The minister, who briefed Buhari on the activities of his ministry, said he made a portrait of the President in five major Nigerian attires, “one is in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Efik and one in suit.
“It is reminiscent of the portrait we use during this campaign.’’
On Senate President Bukola Saraki’s comment on 2019 budget proposal, the minister said it was not the practice of the executive to exchange words with other arms of government.
“It is not the practice of the executive to be exchanging words with the legislative arm of government. They are independent, we are independent. To the best of our knowledge, we presented a budget given the circumstances of our resources this year.
“We feel that is the best we can. It is left for the National Assembly to consider it,’’ he said.
The minister also noted that the Buhari administration had delivered on its promises to Nigerians.
In a previous report by Legit.ng, a labour leader, Joe Ajaero, has said that labour has resolved to fight for the new minimum wage even after the upcoming general election, saying that there would be no retreat or surrender until workers received the wage.
Ajaero, who is the president of the United Labour Congress (ULC) made the statement when he spoke at a public forum on labour in Lagos on Thursday, November 22.
He stated that a tripartite committee had considered the ability of government to pay the sum before the committee agreed on the sum.
Minimum Wage: Is N30,000 Too Much for FG to Pay Workers? - Nigeria Street Gist | Legit TV