Officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have reacted to the non-inclusion of any provision whatsoever on the new minimum wage in the 2017 budget presented by President Muhammad Buhari.

It should be recalled that the Labour union sent a proposal to the federal government since May 2016, to ensure that the minimum wage for public officials is N52, 000 naira.

The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo Eson has demanded for a supplementary budget by the Federal Government, one that would include the new national minimum wage. In his words, “It is not strange to us that there is no provision for a new minimum wage in the 2017 Federal Government budget because there is no agreement on it. What is urgent is for government to set up a tripartite committee to negotiate and agree on a new minimum wage immediately.

“Once this is done and agreement is reached and it is passed into law by the National Assembly, if the government thinks it cannot accommodate a new salary increase, it will send a supplementary budget to accommodate it. So, it is not surprising to us.”

Like the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has expressed their distaste on the matter. The President of the NUTGTWN, John Adaji, and the General Secretary, Isa Aremu were reported to have said that: ‘’We note that the critical missing link in the 2017 budget is the provision for new minimum wage. The government must make immediate provision for supplementary budget to address this concern.

‘’We call on the federal government to ensure a holistic implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, launched in February 2015.”

They went further to state that there is a need for an urgent review of the national minimum wage since the only way to expand the output of the Nigerian economy is to increase workers; salaries.

‘’We, hereby, call for an urgent review of the National Minimum Wage. The federal government should immediately constitute the tripartite committee for a review of the National Minimum Wage. The point cannot be overstated. The only way to reflate the economy is to increase the wages of workers.”

Written by Misthura Otubu