The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, Thursay attributed the challenges being experienced in reaching agreement on full implementation of the new minimum wage increase, caused by the present impasse over the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage for Grade Levels 7 to 17, to the wrong interpretation of the increase by the organised labour.
The minister, while receiving a delegation of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) who visited him in Abuja, accused labour of interpreting the minimum wage to suit its purpose.
He said: “Consequential adjustment of the minimum wage is the main issue . It is not synonymous with total wage review. It is an adjustment you do consequentially – moving the last man at the last rung of ladder to N30,000 and by so doing, impinging on other salary Grade Levels, therefore must consequentially move them up too.
But the consequential movement up doesn’t mean you do a percentage of the former minimum wage to the present minimum wage, which is 67 per cent . The issue is that they mistakenly lumped the two things together – the issue of consequential movement upstairs and the issue of total wage review.”
The minister also said the five-member Presidential Committee on Review of Salaries of Federal Public Servants would conclude its assignment by December.
According to the minister, the presidential committee has the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning as its chairman and himself as the co-chair.
He added that the committee, which will submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari, was given additional mandate to guide government in implementing an overall structural wage review.
According to him, due to the new minimum wage, the federal government’s personnel cost has risen astronomically from N1.88 trillion in 2016 to N3.08 trillion.
He said it was in anticipation of the adverse consequences that Buhari recently set up, the five-member committee to “evaluate all the earnings in the public service.”
He said part of the mandate of the committee was to make sure that “the quantum of work vis-a-vis quantum of money were synchronised in such a way that productivity would also come into play.”