Minimum wage: NECA calls for compromise

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association, NECA, has called for quick resolution of all issues delaying the payment of the new National Minimum Wage.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage on April 18 this year, but disagreement between labour and government over consequential adjustment of wages has caused delay in the payment of the new wage.

Director-General of NECA, Timothy Olawale, who spoke with State House correspondents after he led members of the association to a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, said both parties must adopt the principle of give-and take to resolve the issue.

What we have advised is that in negotiation, the principle of give and take is important.

“They must not be fixated with their position; in other words, you move positions and meet at an agreeable position.

“You can arrive at a win-win situation and that is what we have been urging the two parties that in the interest of those workers that are very expectant, there is need for both parties to arrive at a conclusion in the first week of September.”

Olawale said that almost 80 percent of orgainzed businesses were already paying higher than the N30,000.00 minimum wage. 

Business environment.

Mr. Olawale said one the items on the agenda of the meeting between NECA and the vice president was “the issue of regulatory bodies that are working at cross purposes.”

According to him, this would be against the ease of doing business being championed by the Office of the Vice President and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC.

“What we are saying is that we may not have access to the Office of the Vice President every now and then to escalate issues for his attention.

“And while also we do not want to be running to the court to seek relief because of the issue of non-accessibility of some of the chief executives of some these regulatory bodies, we want a situation where there is a clearing desk on the Office of the Vice President, where we can escalate these issues and they are resolved amicably in the interest of national development and national economy.”

Olawale said that the PEBEC has been able to handle these issues and ensured enabling business environment, but pointed out that all regulatory bodies have not keyed into the initiative.

As of fact, much business has been made but what we are saying is that it is not all regulatory bodies of government that are on the same page with government on the desirables.

“We have instances where some of them shut down businesses without recourse to dialogue; we have instances where there have been infractions or interventions from these agencies of government outside their enabling Act-the law setting them up.

“What we are saying is the rule of law must be respected; even when you have cases in court and there is restraining order; we have instances where some the regulatory bodies go against such restraining orders and still go ahead to disrupt businesses.”

He said that the vice president agreed that the idea of clearing desk “is doable” and that he was desirable of working closely with the private sector.

Ime Njoku