25th November, 2010
The National Council of State at the end of its meeting this afternoon in Abuja endorsed the proposedÂ N18,000.00 as the national minimum wage at the end of its meeting in Abuja.
Members of the Council includes state governors, past Nigeria head of states, some ministers, the president and the vice president.
The Council therefore mandates President Goodluck Jonathan to forward a bill that will give the new wage the backing of the law to the National Assembly.
Governor Danjuma Goje who briefed journalists alongside Governor Raji Fashola, Ikeadi Ohakim,and Sule Lamido of Lagos, Imo and Jigawa States respectively the approval of the new minimum wage is in the interest of the national economy and the Nigerian workers.
“Council resolve to advise Mr President to send a bill to National Assembly to enact the N18,000 national minimum wage.
“This is done in the interest of Nigerian workers and the economy and so that the problem of the minimum wage would have been solved finally”, Goje told journalists.
The Nigerian Labour Congress and its affiliated unions had ahead of the Council meeting earlier this week threatened to call a national strike if the minimum wage is not endorsed.
The labour union had earlier this month suspended a planed three days national strike after the first day following intervention of President Jonathan.
Though federal government had earlier in the year agree over a series of negotiation with representatives of the labour unions agree to increase the national minimum wage from the present N7,500 to N18,000.
But just as the payment of the new wage was about to take off at the federal level, many state governments had complained that they will not be able to pay their own workers the minimum wage.
The governors attributed their incapacity to their limited financial resources.
But the labour unions insist that the payment of the new national wage must be across board and the last national strike was called to protest against the Governors’ decision.
The governors however also noted today that there is the need to make provisions of the Nigerian constitution which deals with fixing of the national minimum wage in line with the federal structure of the country.
Specifically, Governor Godswill Akpabio said the Council asked the President to make proposals for amendments of present provision of the constitution in which the issue of the national wage is on the exclusive list and therefore can only be legislated upon by the Federal Government.
“Council noted submission from states on their ability to meet the payment of the new national minimum wage.
“If the law is amended in future each states can negotiate with its workers.
“In the meantime, what has been advised is N18,000 per month”, Akpabio said.
While explaining further, Governor Goje said the amendment of the provision will deregulate fixing of wages and each of the states of the federation will then be in position to negotiate with their workers.
As furtherÂ explained by Fashola,deregulation of wage fixing is necessary since the income and the cost of living varies across the different states in the country.
The council meeting which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan also commended the preparations being made by INEC for the next general election after listening to presentation by Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the commission.
The Council also asked President Jonathan to forward a bill to the National Assembly for the creation of Electoral Offences Commission.