Ngige urges states against delaying minimum wage payment

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, has advised state governments and other employers of labour to start the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage without further delay.

Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment.

Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment.

Ngige said in Abuja that the immediate implementation of the new salary regime remained the only way to avoid a huge backlog of arrears that will likely create labour unrest for them.

He also advised the states to avoid the mistake that they made in 2011 when they carried out percentage increase across the board for workers, thereby placing them in a position of not being able to pay wages.

The minister noted that any state that does percentage increase will put itself in a disadvantaged position as it will not be able to pay.

He told reporters that no state governor could refuse to implement the minimum wage being a national law, adding that the earlier they start the implementation, the better it will be for them.

Ngige said with the signing of the new minimum wage bill into law by the President, the new wage now takes effect from April 18, 2019, adding that “any employer of labour that has not commenced the payment is already owing workers arrears of the new wage.”

The former senator said: “The minimum wage was one of the products of the technical committee that worked on the palliatives as a result of the increase in the pump price of PMS.

“We were the anchor ministry and I led the government delegation comprising about seven ministers, the National Salaries and Wages Commission and the state government.”

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Reminded that state governors were complaining of inability to pay the new wage, Ngige said: “it is a national law and no governor can say he will not pay. Issue of the national minimum wage is item 34 on the exclusive legislative list in the third schedule of the Nigerian constitution.

“The issue of labour is also there and not on the concurrent list.

“If it is on the concurrent list, then they can make their own state Assembly laws on that.

“Any state government that has not started the implementation of the new minimum wage is now owing workers’ especially if they have not started paying N30,000.

“They are owing workers effective from 18th of April, the new minimum wage.

“We are now in a committee working out a new template with which we will adjust the consequential adjustment upstairs for those already earning above N30,000.”

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