The Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage has presented reasons for why the organised labour should reconsider its demand for a minimum wage.

Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Goni Aji, made these remarks in Abuja on Sunday. The organised labour is currently demanding a minimum wage of N250,000 per month, while the Federal Government and Organised Private Sector have proposed N62,000 per month.

Aji urged labour to rethink its stance considering economic factors and the non-monetary incentives the Federal Government has provided for workers.

He outlined several such incentives, including a N35,000 wage award for all treasury-paid federal workers, and N100 billion allocated for the procurement of gas-fueled buses and conversion to gas kits.

Additional incentives mentioned by Aji include:
– N125 billion conditional grant for financial inclusion of small and medium-scale enterprises.
– N25,000 each to be distributed to 15 million households for three months.
– N185 billion in palliative loans to states to mitigate the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
– N200 billion to support the cultivation of hectares of land to boost food production.
– N75 billion to strengthen the manufacturing sector.
– N1 trillion for student loans for higher education.

Aji also noted the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of grains from strategic reserves and the purchase and distribution of 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the Millers Association.

He highlighted the recent salary increases of 25% and 35% on all consolidated salary structures for federal workers and a 90% subsidy on health costs for federal civil servants registered on the health insurance programme.

According to Aji, these measures should prompt labour unions to accept the N62,000 minimum wage offer from the Federal Government.

He also pointed out that the recently commissioned light rail in Abuja was intended to reduce transportation costs, a significant achievement aimed at easing the impact of fuel subsidy removal.

Furthermore, Aji mentioned the Federal Government’s approval for civil servants to engage in agriculture and ICT services as alternate sources of income.

The committee stressed that the outcome of a new minimum wage should not lead to further job losses, especially as many businesses are already struggling or closing down.

Lastly, Aji argued that linking the strike to electricity price hikes with the wage determination was unfair to the negotiating parties.

(NAN)

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