The Federal Government, yesterday, gave insight into the composition of the National Minimum Wage Committee and the criteria for selecting members.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who disclosed this at an interactive session with newsmen in his office, also revealed that government has appointed Chairman of National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) as committee secretary.
“The chairman must be somebody with good standing in the Nigerian society; neutral background, who doesn’t belong to any political party. He must have knowledge of labour administration, either as a top public servant or an employer,” said Ngige.
He, however, assured that the committee will be constituted before the end of this month and added that the chairman would be announced during the inauguration. The minister also explained composition of the 29-member committee to include; Federal Government (seven), Governors’ Forum (six), labour (eight) and employers, represented by Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), (eight).
The minister further disclosed that his office had received nominations from the Governors’ Forum representing the six geopolitical zones, adding that it would be forwarded to the Acting President for approval.
He, however, denied that the delay in constituting the committee was caused by government and said the labour movement and employers’ association were yet to submit lists of their nominees.
“For the federal government, the technical committee recommended eight slots and three for the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, another principal employer. But, the federal government conceded three of their positions to the governors’ forum, making theirs six; one governor per geo-political zone because, hitherto, the governors had complained that they were not being consulted enough on minimum wage. They alluded to the fact that, in the 2011 minimum wage, they were not adequately consulted. Therefore, this time around, the federal government has shed some of its allocation for the governors’ forum. So, the federal government will nominate five ministers and top government officials as well as the chairman and secretary, to join them on government side,” Ngige stated.
He further added with the bill sponsored by House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, there would be automatic review of national minimum wage, every five years.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had, on May 25, 2017, approved the constitution of the committee to kick start the process of deliberations for a new wage for Nigerian workers.