Minimum Wage: NCPC Calls For Amicable Resolution

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Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, NCPC, Bishop Stephen Adegbite has urged the federal government, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, to consider a reasonable pay to solve the minimum wage crisis.

Adegbite advised labour to shun a situation where many workers, especially those in the private sector would be sacked due to high salary which many employers of labour would not be able to sustain.

He gave the advice while briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja on the minimum wage saga and preparations by the commission for this year’s pilgrimage. 

The NCPC boss said the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun will do a good job of carrying out the directive of President Bola Tinubu to work out a template for a new minimum wage figure and analyse the fiscal impact on the federal budget.

Adegbite said: “As you all know, we are in the middle of a minimum wage crisis which a few days ago, virtually grounded socio-economic activities across the country until good reason prevailed and a one-week suspension was worked out.

“I commend organised labour for heeding the call by well meaning Nigerians to suspend the nationwide strike and also appreciate the federal government for shifting ground from its earlier stance of N60,000 new national minimum wage.

“Now as all parties begin a fresh round of negotiations with N60,000 as ground zero, I have some advice for the leadership of NLC and TUC, as well as government negotiators.

“As much as the federal government has ruled out Labour’s previous demand of N494,000 minimum wage and committed itself to going over N60,000, the parties should spare a thought for private sector players who are the largest bloc of employers in the country.

“The Organised Private Sector had earlier in the minimum wage negotiation made an offer of N57,000 which it said is what it could offer when it considered other variables. We do not want a situation where some of these people will have to downsize or retrench workers en-masse in order to pay salaries that are above their limit.

“As for states, one of the national newspapers recently reported that over 15 states have been unable to pay the old N30,000 minimum wage which expired a few weeks ago. We wonder if Organised Labour is aware of this. And if so, what did they do about it? How are we to know that the sub-nationals are ready to pay above N60,000 for their least paid workers?

“But we are also aware that distributable revenue from the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, is now quite high to the extent that what was shared among the tiers of government in April was N1.2 trillion compared to N655 billion exactly one year ago.

“So in our view, the sub-nationals have more funds for developmental projects than ever before but will also keep their eyes on the ongoing national minimum wage negotiations. So our prayer is that both sides should reach an understanding on a minimum wage structure that will be acceptable to all the parties involved without causing more problems in the system”.

Adegbite said many Nigerians have been hard hit by the effect of fuel subsidy removal, as well as the unification of foreign exchange rates, but we also join the president in soliciting for understanding, while government continues to take steps to reduce the burden on the people. 

He said there cannot be quick fixes to the country’s economic problem, adding that: “we acknowledge that the federal government has worked out a number of initiatives but we want to use this opportunity to call on the authorities to speed up the process of ameliorating the hardship”.

The NCPC boss advised the sub-nationals to support the federal government with initiatives, especially now that many states are getting almost double what they were receiving from the federation account.

On the 2024 pilgrimage to Israel, he said NCPC recently convened a seven-day retreat/pre-visit for special pilgrimage leaders, managers and other stakeholders in Nazareth, Israel with the theme: “Enriching Christian Pilgrimage Experience for Satisfaction.” 

He assured of the safety of pilgrims while in Israel, adding that there is no more crisis.

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