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Presidency reassures workers on new minimum wage 

The Presidency on Wednesday reassured workers of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to an increase in the minimum wage.

Sen. Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) gave the assurance in an interview in Abuja.

Enang spoke in response to alleged lack of commitment by the Federal Government to an upward review of the minimum wage, which has been N18, 000 for over eight years.

“I want to assure you that the Buhari-led administration is very honest and committed to reviewing the salaries of workers.

“If he was not, he would not have set up a committee on minimum wage headed by a retired Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. This is a sign of commitment, the Minister of Labour is part of it.

“So, it shows the level of commitment, and it is not a committee of the Federal Executive Council, it is a presidential committee set up and inaugurated by the president.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) through its President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, had on Monday accused the Federal Government of frustrating the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Wabba stated that the congress had summoned a meeting of its organs next week to decide on the next line of action.

Enang, however, urged NLC to consider unemployed Nigerians in its demand for salary increment.

 “The workers and labour should include all those who are qualified to be employed but are not yet employed.

“So, when we are talking about an increase in the salaries of workers, let us also make allowance for new people to be employed.

“That is; thinking about those you and I have trained who have graduated, who out of frustration sometimes act and behave in a manner which they ought not to, and sometimes take to social media to harass the government and you.

“Sometimes, they even revolt against you in the house because they do not have what to do.

“So, when we are talking about an increase in salaries, I agree to it, but I think we should also factor along creating employment for those who are yet to have.”

The presidential aide said the Federal Government was already working towards achieving that by encouraging its agencies and parastatals to employ young and qualified Nigerians.

Enang stated that the government was also creating self-employment opportunities for enterprising youths through its social investment programme.

He said the government was equally creating the enabling environment in the agricultural and technological sectors for young Nigerians.

The tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee, made up of 29 members drawn from organised labour and the federal and state governments, was inaugurated in May 2017.

Although the committee was given till Sept. 1 to submit its report, it could not meet the deadline due to disagreement over the minimum wage figure.

On Aug. 21, The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, however, blamed the delay on the inability of state governors to agree on a figure.

According to the minister, the Federal Government through its Economic Management Team is working with the governors to find a common ground

Until then, the minister said he could not tell when the new minimum wage would be implemented.

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