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02 January 2020

More states begin payment of new minimum wage

More states on Wednesday showed a willingness to pay the N30,000 minimum wage from this month.

Some are set to meet with Labour to work out modalities; others have set up implementation committees.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) directed state councils to await directives to engage governors who failed to meet the December 31 implementation deadline.

Already, the Federal Government has paid arrears of the minimum wage to its workers.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba, in a New Year message, said: “We implore states that are yet to implement the new national minimum wage, including the states that are yet to begin negotiation with labour on the consequential wage adjustment, to speedily do the needful.

“In tandem with our position as adopted and communicated after a stakeholders’ meeting on December 11, 2019, Organised Labour will not guarantee industrial harmony in states that fail to implement the new national minimum wage by December 31, 2019.”

The NLC leader said: “The new national minimum wage is now a law and governors do not have the luxury to choose whether to pay or not.”

According to him, the NLC was perfecting plans for a National Job Summit in 2020.”

Kano State paid the new wage last month.

The Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said based on an agreement with the Joint Public Service Negotiation Council (JNC), arrears of April to November would be paid in installments.

He urged civil servants to reciprocate the gesture by dedicating themselves to their duties to improve service delivery.

Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said his administration would start paying the new wage this month.

He announced this in his New Year broadcast.

Katsina State and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday reached an agreement that the new wage payment with its consequential adjustments will begin this month.

The Chairman of the Negotiating Committee/Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Mohammed Inuwa, and the state NLC chairman Comrade Hussain Hamisu, signed the agreement.

Inuwa said it followed a three-day negotiation between the parties concerned

He said: “Sequel to a fruitful negotiation on the new national minimum wage and consequential adjustments of workers’ salaries for both state, local governments and local education authority, the state government’s negotiating team and the Katsina State Joint Negotiation Council led by state’s NLC chairman have reached an agreement for the implementation of the N30, 000 new minimum wage and the consequential adjustment of salaries.”

Hamisu said the union welcomed the new wage agreement in good faith, bearing in mind that as citizens, the workers have a role to play in the state’s development.

Bauchi State yesterday approved the new wage payment.

Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Mohammed Baba said the approval was with “immediate effect”.

He said in a statement: “Governor Bala Mohammad has received the report of the committee of the state Joint Public Service Council on the implementation of the National Minimum Wage of N30,000 as set by the Federal Government.

“Government has accordingly approved the payment of the N30,000 as minimum wage for employees in the state with effect from 1st January 2020.”

But, Labour in the state has rejected the state’s offer to pay only workers on Levels 1 to 7.

State Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiation Council (JPSNC), Abdullahi Ibrahim, said the issues on consequential adjustment were yet to be resolved.

According to him, the government’s offers did not meet Labour’s expectations.

The Kwara Government on Wednesday inaugurated a 13-man Minimum Wage implementation Committee, with a three-week deadline.

Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, who represented Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, urged members of the committee to be patriotic in handling the assignment.

“As a government, we are mindful of the fact that the expectations of the workers are high. The government is, therefore, poised to attend to this matter with all seriousness and fairness.”

The committee is to examine the state’s ability to pay the wage, “given the prevailing economic realities at both federal and state levels”.

It will also consider “the financial implication and sustainability of paying the wage by the state government and any other recommendation/observation that could assist the government in taking a realistic position on the agitation of civil servants”.

In an Abuja, Federal civil servants praised the Federal Government for keeping to its promise to pay the arrears of the new minimum wage, which came into effect in April.

Some of the government workers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the arrears were paid on Monday.

Mrs. Chikamso Nwobodo, a civil servant who resides at Nyanya, said the payment came as a surprise to her.

“I was saving some money to settle my children’s school fees by January but as soon as I received the alert for the minimum wage arrears, I was overjoyed as I needed to buy some food items for the New Year also.

“I know the Federal Government promised they will pay the money this December but I didn’t put my mind there because most times they pay late.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the Federal Government for this money. It is not easy because some government will promise and will not fulfill their promise.

“It shows that the government has the interest of civil servants at heart. I hope they will continue this way in addressing issues concerning civil servants, kudos to them.

“We should commend them when they do well,’’ she said.

Another civil servant, Mr. Charles Okoro, who was seen at an ATM in Nyanya, said the arrears payment came as a relief to him as he had expended virtually all his December salary for the Christmas.

“I thank the Federal Government for this prompt payment. It came at the right time because I would have run into debt in this New Year.

“Two of my daughters are in secondary school and before now, I have been thinking seriously because I know I don’t have enough to pay their fees.”

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