Edun Presents Cost Implication of Proposed Minimum Wage to President, Tripartite C’tee to Reach Agreement Today

Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun yesterday submitted to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu cost implication of a new minimum wage. This is expected to help guide negotiation with the tripartite panel comprising government officials, labour and the Organised Private Sector (OPS).President had on Tuesday given the Finance Minister 48 hours to submit to him the cost implication of the proposed wage review to enable government take informed decision on the contentious wage issue.

Edun submitted the document to the president in his office at the State House, Abuja.The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, had announced to newsmen after a closed-door meeting of the government negotiation team led by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, George Akume, at the presidential villa in Abuja, that the president directed Edun to present the cost implications for a new minimum wage within two days.

The labour unions are asking for an increase in the minimum from N30,000 to N494,000, following the rising inflation, high energy costs, skyrocketing transportation fares, increasing house rent, among others.On Monday and Tuesday, the unions led a strike that grounded the country, after they shut down the airports as well as the national electricity grid, throwing the country into a total blackout.

But yesterday, prodded by reporters on how far government negotiations with the organised labour had gone after submitting the report, Edun casually told newsmen that there was “no cause for alarm”.The Finance Minister was in the company of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu and his Information and National Orientation counterpart, Idris.

The president had also assured that he was ready to pay more than the N60,000 offered by the government’s team as the maximum the government could pay as minimum wage to workers.And as Nigerians eagerly await the agreement on the new minimum wage by the federal government, the tripartite committee overseeing the negotiation has given hope that an agreement will be reached at today’s sitting.In what seemed like an assurance of a likely end to the prolonged negotiation on the minimum wage, Imo state governor, Hope Uzodinma told journalists after yesterday’s session of the tripartite committee meeting that discussion on the issue was on its final stages and that an agreement will be reached by today (Friday).

He was however silent on the exact amount being proposed by government and which will form basis for discussion at Friday’s meeting. Uzodinma while speaking on the outcome of the proceeding said that the committee was taking a holistic approach to the Issues at hand.He said: “I sure that when we reconvene tomorrow by 11 am we will be able to reach some kind of concrete agreement and that will be the position we will present to the plenary to adopt.”

When asked about the amount being proposed as new minimum wage, Uzodinma said: ” It is not a matter of a specific amount, we are taking a holistic approach to the issue because it is not about minimum wage. Wages should be anchored on capacity to generate revenue and the sovereignty of the country is important to us.“It’s not about the workers, it is about Nigeria, it is about our nation and it is our responsibility as citizens to work with the government of the day to ensure that the country’s interest is protected”

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