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National Assembly ‘Plans To Approve’ N70,000 Minimum Wage; Labour, FG, States May Agree To Compromise Deal

National Assembly is poised to approve a minimum wage increase to N70,000, exceeding the N62,000 proposed by the federal government.

There are strong indications that the ongoing minimum wage talks by organised labour, the federal government, states, and local governments may end up with a N70,000 compromise deal.

An inside source told THISDAY that an executive bill from President Bola Tinubu would still be sent to the National Assembly any moment next week, as the tripartite committee recommended N62,000 minimum wage.

But the National Assembly might just, as it did in 2019, approve more than what was sent to it by the president.

A member of the tripartite committee, who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, said Tinubu has concluded plans to send the compromise minimum wage of N62,0000, but the National Assembly might likely jack it up to N70,000 as their own input.

The source explained, “This was exactly the situation that played out in 2018 and 2019. The federal government sent a minimum wage bill recommending a minimum wage of N23,000, but the National Assembly increased it to N30,000.

“This scenario will play out when the National Assembly gets the minimum wage bill any moment from now. The role to be played by the National Assembly is one of, ‘we feel your pains and therefore considering the economic realities, we are increasing the minimum wage to N70,000’.

“Though some states will still insist that they cannot pay, the federal government will persuade the states to pay and where necessary give the states a bailout that will encourage them commence payment, in the first instance.”

THISDAY learnt that the federal government’s negotiating team and leaders of the National Assembly were moved to adopt this position since Edo State had already started paying the N70,000 minimum wage.

As part of this compromise, it was also gathered that some of the governors were calling for a new revenue sharing formula to enable them pay both the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments that could follow.

Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had insisted about two weeks ago that the N60,000 minimum wage was not sustainable.

NGF said it was in agreement that a new minimum wage was due, as they sympathised with labour unions in their push for higher wages.

However, NGF’s acting Director of Media and Public Affairs, Hajiya Halimah Salihu Ahmed, said the forum urged all parties to consider the fact that the minimum wage negotiations also involved consequential adjustments across all cadres, including pensioners.

NGF cautioned parties in the important discussion to look beyond just signing a document for the sake of it, saying any agreement to be signed should be sustainable and realistic.

 Chuks Okocha 

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