The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, says the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is a labour-friendly one, which is determined to put smiles on the faces of Nigerian workers before 2019 elections.
Mr Ngige stated this when he alongside the Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee, Amma Pepple, addressed State House correspondents on the outcome of their closed door meeting with the president.
Mr Ngige and Ms Pepple had briefed the president on the progress so far made by the Pepple committee, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.
According to the minister, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, will on September 18, preside over the meeting of the Economic Management Team, which will be solely dedicated to the contentious issue of minimum wage.
He said: “Next week we have an economic management team meeting on Tuesday, specially dedicated to the issue of national minimum wage to be chaired by the Vice President.
“For anybody to say that this government is stalling or playing games will be uncharitable because we have done what we are supposed to do.
“We have the interest of workers at heart, we have not retrenched anybody, there is no embargo on employment, there is no embargo on promotions, we are paying backlog of promotional arrears, we are backing backlog of transfers and repatriation and the rest of them and we are giving them houses under FISH and the rest of them.
“So this government is a labour-friendly government and we must put smiles on their faces before the next elections; we are labour activists we don’t want to turn our backs on them.’’
Ms Pepple, a onetime Head of Service of the Federation, told the correspondents that the committee would submit its report on or before September 30.
She, however, maintained that the committee needed a definite figure from the government.
According to her, everything is on course but we need a definite figure from the government and of course we have to carry the states along.
“So, we need those figures so that we can conclude on the figures to include in our report.
“At least, I expect our report to be ready this month. We are submitting our report to Mr President this month.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) had on Wednesday issued a two-week ultimatum to government to conclude all negotiations on the national minimum wage or risk industrial action.
However, Mr Ngige accused the congress of blackmailing the government.