In the just concluded week, the Federal Government (FG) attributed the delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands of the Joint National Public Service Negotiation Council (JNPSNC) as the two agents differed in the percentage increase for the adjustment of the workers’ new salary.
Following the signing of the new National Minimum Wage into Law, FG on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 inaugurated the relativity/Consequential Adjustment Committee which in turn set up a Technical Sub-Committee to work out the template for the adjustment of salaries of Public Service Employees in line with the new minimum wage in order to ensure that all workers benefit from the new salary regime.
Specifically, the Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, NSIWC, Chief Richard Egbule stated that FG only made budgetary provision for an adjustment of N10,000 across board for workers already earning above N30,000 per month. He mentioned that the increase in minimum wage was not based on percentage increase but was rather based on ability of the government to pay given the recent economic realities.
However, JNPSNC negotiating the consequential adjustment in salary scale of workers said that the President approved an increment of 66.67% given the increase from N18,000 to N30,000.
However, in order to accommodate the NSIWC’s proposal, the negotiating council reduced the initial demand of 66.67% increment to 30% and 25% respectively for level 7 to 14 and level 14 to 17 respectively.
Despite the reduction, the NSIWC’s Chairman still disagreed with the Labour’s position, stating that given what FG budgeted for, salaries of workers from level 7 to 14 would increase only by 9.5% while salaries of workers from level 15 to 17 would increase only by five percent.
He mentioned that it will be unfair to increase salary of worker previously earning N18,000 by only N12,000 and significantly increase the salary of a worker in level 17 by N100,000 if 25% proposed increase was approved.
We expect federal government and labour to reconcile their differences in order to commence immediate implementation of the new minimum wage as workers purchasing power have been eroded by inflation.
More so, it cannot be overemphasised that the implementation of the minimum wage would help boost economic growth as disposable income of workers improve.
We feel it will also be a good strategy in reducing the social insecurity in Nigeria as workers can at least provide for their dependants. This would inturn help reduce the heightened insecurity in the country as poverty remains one of the major contributors to this menace