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President Tinubu says committed to new minimum wage, to submit bill to N/Assembly

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President Bola Tinubu has announced plans to submit an executive bill to the National Assembly proposing a new national minimum wage for workers. This announcement was made during his second Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024.

“In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with Organised Labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,” stated President Tinubu.

Reflecting on the national strike led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on June 3, 2024, Tinubu emphasized the government’s commitment to resolving disputes through dialogue.

“None of the leaders were arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution,” he noted. The President highlighted that reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of a functioning democracy.

Acknowledging the current economic difficulties, President Tinubu expressed empathy towards Nigerians and underscored the necessity of the ongoing economic reforms.

“The reforms we have initiated are intended to create a stronger, better foundation for future growth. There is no doubt the reforms have occasioned hardship.

Yet, they are necessary repairs required to fix the economy over the long run so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay, and compensation for their labour,” he explained.

READ ALSO: President Tinubu honours democracy heroes and reaffirms commitment to economic reforms

The journey to establish a new minimum wage has been fraught with challenges. The Minimum Wage Act of 2019, which set the minimum wage at N30,000, expired in April 2024.

President Tinubu, in January, established a Tripartite Committee comprising Organised Labour, federal and state government representatives, and the Organised Private Sector to negotiate a new wage.

However, negotiations stalled, leading to an indefinite industrial action starting June 3, 2024. This strike disrupted operations across various sectors, including airports, hospitals, banks, and legislative complexes.

Labour unions argued that the N30,000 minimum wage was insufficient amidst rising inflation and the economic impacts of the current administration’s policies, including the removal of petrol subsidies and the unification of forex windows.

The strike was “relaxed” on June 4, 2024, following President Tinubu’s assurances of a wage above N60,000. Subsequent negotiations continued between labour leaders and representatives of the Federal Government, states, and the Organised Private Sector.

Despite initial setbacks, including the government’s incremental offer from N60,000 to N62,000 against labour’s adjusted demand from N494,000 to N250,000, both parties submitted their reports to the President.

President Tinubu is expected to finalize the decision and forward an executive bill to the National Assembly, ensuring that the new minimum wage becomes law. This legislative move is anticipated to address the economic challenges faced by Nigerian workers and set a precedent for future wage negotiations.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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