President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday expressed his commitment to ensuring the implementation of a new national minimum wage.
Buhari said this in Abuja while receiving the report of the tripartite committee on the review of national minimum wage from the committee’s chairman, Ama Pepple at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He expressed delight that the committee had successfully completed its assignment in a peaceful and non-controversial manner.
He revealed that the Federal Government would soon transmit an executive bill to the National Assembly for its passage within the shortest possible time.
“Our plan is to transmit the Executive bill to the National Assembly for its passage within the shortest possible time.
“I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future.
“Let me use this opportunity to recognise the leadership of the organized labour and private sector as well as representatives of State and Federal Governments for all your hard work.
“The fact that we are here today, is a notable achievement.
“As the executive arm commences its review of your submission, we will continue to engage you all in closing any open areas presented in this report.
“I, therefore, would like to ask for your patience and understanding in the coming weeks,” Buhari said.
The president, however, enjoined the leadership of the labour unions as well as the Nigerian workers to avoid being used as political weapons.
“May I, therefore, employ workers and their leaders not to allow themselves to be used as political weapons,” he said.
He explained that the exercise had become necessary for many reasons, saying that the last review took place in 2011.
The president acknowledged that the concerns raised by representatives of government in the committee were around affordability, while many states were struggling to meet their existing salary requirements.
“On the side of labour, the points raised focused on the need for any increase to be meaningful.
“In a way, both arguments are valid. I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas,” he said.
In her remarks, Pepple explained that the recommendation made by the committee was predicated on the high cost of living, occasioned by the exchange rate as well as the rising inflation rate in the country.
She said that the committee also considered micro-economic indicators including the revenue and expenditure profile of the government.
Pepple expressed the belief that the implementation of the recommended minimum wage would boost the purchasing power of the working class, increase consumption expenditure, and stimulate economic growth.
“Consideration was also given to the critical role of the informal sector in employment generation and the need for a realistic minimum wage that will not stifle the growth of the sector and the overall economy.
“After carefully weighing these critical factors and bearing in the mind the overriding interest of the economy, the committee, while noting the offer of N24,000 by the Federal Government, is recommending an increase in the existing minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000.
“We believe that the implementation of the recommended minimum wage, will, no doubt, boost the purchasing power of workers, increase consumption expenditure and ultimately stimulate business and overall economic growth,” she said.