Nigeria sets December deadline to clear minimum wage arrears

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Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

The Nigerian government has directed that the payment of arrears of the new National Minimum Wage to workers in the country be completed on or before December 31, 2019.

The directive was given on Wednesday at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Disagreement over the consequential adjustments of the new monthly minimum wage of N30, 000.00 delayed the commencement of the implementation of the new wage in Nigeria.

Last week, the federal government and organised labour in the country agreed that for the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, CONMESS, Grade Level 7 would get 23%; level 8, 20%;  level 9, 19%; level 10 -14, 16%; and level 15-17, 14%.

It was also agreed that on Consolidated Health Salary Structure, CONHESS;  Consolidated Tertiary Institute Salary, CONTISS and other salary structures, level 7 would get 22.2%; level 8-14, 16 per %;, and level 15-17, 10.5 percent,

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who briefed State House correspondents said his ministry presented report of the agreement reached with labour at the meeting.

Ngige said: “ FEC today approved for us the financial implications worked out by the national incomes and wages commission and that the salaries adjustment should take effect as from April 18, 2019, the day the new national minimum wage Act came into being.

“Council also approved for us that the financial implication be worked out and the payment should be completed in or before December 2019.

“Council further directed that the minister of finance budget and national planning through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation should effect all these payments before 31 December 2019.

“Council further directed also that the national income and wages commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustment table down to the states and local governments as an advisory document for their information and guidance for their national joint public service status in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law.”

According to Ngige, the police and other security agencies, who had a pay rise last year, were consequentially adjusted to between four and seven percent.

He said the paramilitary also had their consequential pay rise.

Lateefah Ibrahim