Minimum Wage: Nigerian govt keeps mum after ‘special’ FEC meeting

From left: President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; Minister of State for Agriculture,. Heinekan Lokpobiri; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu; Minister of Defence, Masur Dan-Ali and Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, during an emergency Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (9/1/19) 00438/015/01/2019/Callistus Ewelike/JAU/NAN
From left: President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; Minister of State for Agriculture,. Heinekan Lokpobiri; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu; Minister of Defence, Masur Dan-Ali and Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, during an emergency Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (9/1/19) 00438/015/01/2019/Callistus Ewelike/JAU/NAN

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed Tuesday declined to give details of what was discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier reported the meeting which held at the council chambers earlier today.

The meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Mohammed, alongside other ministers whose memos were considered, traditionally brief State House correspondents after every meeting of the council.

The Nation Newspaper had on Monday reported that the meeting was called to discuss the issue of a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Asked if that was the agenda of the meeting, the information minister said “that is correct”.

Pressed to brief on the outcome, Mr Mohammed said he cannot ”because the National Economic Council (NEC), will have to also discuss and take a position first after which the government will speak.”

Nigerian workers under the auspices of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) are agitating for a raise in the minimum wage from current N18,000 to N30, 000.

While Mr Buhari had expressed the willingness of the federal government to implement the new wage as demanded, he said he can only do so in consonance with state governors who employ the majority of public service workers.

Most of the governors of the 36 states, however, said they cannot afford to pay the new wage without recourse to mass retrenchment.

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Mr Buhari had already set up a technical committee under the leadership of Bismark Rewane to proffer modalities on how the government can fund the new wage, if approved.

NLC had last week held protests across the country over the delay in the implementation of the new wage.

The labour union are also threatening an industrial action over the matter.

A new national minimum wage must be passed by the National Assembly after a bill to that effect has been sent by the executive arm.

The Assembly is, however, billed to go on recess this week and may only return after the general elections in March.

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