Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage For Nigerian Workers

Babatunde Solanke

President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers,with a vow to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information,who announced this at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, on Thursday, disclosed that the president made the announcement at a meeting with leaders of the organised labour.

He also said President Tinubu would perfect the proposal on the new minimum wage in a bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly next week.

He added:“We’re happy to announce today that both the federal government and Organised Labour have agreed on an increase on the N62,000.

“The new national minimum wage that we expect to be submitted to the National Assembly for legislation is N70,000.

“But that is not all. Mr President has assured of massive investment in infrastructure. There is also a deepening of the investment of the Federal Government in renewable energy”.

According to him,to complement the new minimum wage, the Federal Government would ramp up the rollout of Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses in order to check the high cost of transportation.

He said that efforts were also being made to improve the economy and reduce inflation, including the recent directive on the suspension of duty on certain food imports to bring down the prices of food items.

Speaking,Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour, said that the issue of minimum wage was not that of the law and not who was right, or who would blink first.

She added:“He said that he is our father, like he has always said. That, first and foremost, the review of this minimum wage policy has to be reduced to three years, that five years is too long a time to get any minimum wage review.

“And of course, that Labour should look at the indices of the economy and accept N70,000, minimum wage”

Minimum Wage: Activist Ishowo Charges Tinubu,Labour On Fair Deal For Workers

Mohammed Shosanya

A Kwara-based activist and public affairs analyst, Comrade Ishowo Olanrewaju, has urged the federal government, labour unions and other stakeholders to finalise negotiations and reach agreement for a fair and sustainable wage that reflects the country’s current economic reality.

Ishowo,who made the call through opinion piece he released on Thursday morning, said it was disturbing that more than a year after fuel subsidy removal and promise of improved wages, the Tinubu-led government was yet to begin implementation of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers, who he said continue to bear the brunt of the economic policies of the present administration.

He, however, described as a positive development the decision of Tinubu to seek the approval of the National Assembly to increase the 2024 budget by N6.2tn to accommodate the new minimum wage.

According to him, the president’s move reflects not only his understanding of the pressing needs of the labour force but also his dedication to ensuring a fair and just economic environment for all Nigerians.

While lauding the president’s commitment to workers’ welfare, Ishowo urged the federal government to strike a balance between labour demands and its capacity, stressing that “balance is crucial to avoid overburdening the government’s resources while still meeting the legitimate expectations of the workers.”

He also called on governors to embrace Tinubu’s initiative by revising their respective states’ 2024 budgets to capture the new minimum wage, so as to ensure uniformity and effectiveness nationwide.

“The federal government’s initiative must be mirrored at the state level to ensure uniformity and effectiveness. We urge all state governors, led by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to also go back to their respective Houses of Assembly to revise their 2024 budgets. It is crucial that the new minimum wage is captured in these revisions and that the payment starts as soon as the National Assembly approves the new wage bill. This collective effort will demonstrate a unified commitment to improving the living standards of Nigerian workers nationwide,” Ishowo said.

Continuing, the activist lamented that “it is alarming to observe that some governors have colluded with the National Assembly to avoid reviewing Section 34 of the Constitution, which empowers NASS to make laws regarding the national minimum wage.

“Decentralizing this power would constitute a sabotage by the NASS, as many governors are not even willing to review the current wage. This law, which enables their indifferent stance, undermines our democratic system and the welfare of workers. It is crucial to condemn these actions, as allowing governors to determine the minimum wage individually could lead to gross inconsistencies and exploitation across different states.

“The National Assembly holds significant power in this process. It is essential that NASS members act with the fear of God and genuine sympathy for the masses they represent. The responsibility lies with them to ensure that the new minimum wage is not only passed but that it is a living wage.

“The proposed ₦62,000, while an improvement, is still meagre and may not withstand the economic pressures faced by many Nigerians. The NASS has the authority to review and amend the amount proposed by the executive and they should use this opportunity to advocate for a wage that truly meets the needs of the people.”

Ishowo appealed to the national lawmakers, especially those representing his Constituency at the National Assembly, Senator Saliu Mustapha and Honorable Mukhtar Shagaya to resist any attempt at sabotage in the National Assembly and ensure the integrity of the national minimum wage is preserved.

“In light of these concerns, I appeal to Senator Saliu Mustapha representing Kwara Central and Honorable Mukhtar representing Ilorin West in the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, to resist any attempts at NASS sabotage. They must ensure that the integrity of the national minimum wage is preserved and that it remains a federal mandate, ensuring uniformity and fairness for all Nigerian workers. Their proactive stance will be crucial in safeguarding the rights and well-being of their constituents and the nation at large,” he submitted.

ASCSN Faults Bola-Audu’s Forceful  Attempt To Return As President

Mohammed Shosanya

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN),has rejected the recent National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) judgement reinstating Mr Innocent Bola-Audu as the President of the union.

Dr Tommy Okon,ASCSN President,who said this while addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja,explained the appeal and stay of execution obtained from the Appeal Court prevents Bola-Audu from taking over the leadership of the union.

The union had earlier filed an appeal and stay of execution from the Court of Appeal to restrain Bola-Audu from taking over the helm of affairs of the Union.

According to Okon,the leadership and members and the organs of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria decided as its fundamental rights, to appeal the judgement and also apply for stay of execution.

He added:”By virtue of that, it therefore means that Innocent Bola-Audu has not been reinstated because of our appeal and stay of execution.

“We are also aware of the clandestine move to take laws into his hands by threatening to reinstate himself either at night or day with some hoodlums.

“It is proper to put on record that Nigeria is not a banana republic where you have the certified copy of the true ruling and you feel that is execution order.

“You are aware that appeal is our fundamental right and for you to execute the court judgement you must have the certificate of judgement and it has to be through the sheriff of the court but not an individual in court,”he said.

He implored security agencies of government to take note that ASCN as a union was law abiding organization,adding that it decided to go for an appeal of the judgement to create peaceful environment.

“Any attempt by individuals or group of individuals that attempt or attempted to try to bring crisis into the union, we are not going to fold our arms and look at it.

“This is a clarion call for government to take note of the character, of the person with emphasis, that Bola Innocent Audu has not been reinstated.

“He can spread the certified true copy of the said judgement but that is not a guarantee that he has taken over,”he said.

We’ll Deliver Our Mandate With Effective,Professional Workforce-NDDC Boss

Mohammed Shosanya

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku,has emphasized the import of an effective and professional workforce duly equipped with skills and well-motivated by sustainable wages to drive the Commission’s efforts to deliver on its mandate.

He stated this during a two-day workshop on Wage Administration, Policies Implementation and Revenue generation in Public Agencies, organised for executive management, Directors, salary related desk officers and staff union executives of the Niger Delta Development Commission in Port Harcourt.

Seledi Thompson-Wakama
Director, Corporate Affairs,quoted the NDDC boss,as noting in a statement that an effective work behavior could only be achieved through motivation of staff that are critical components of governance.

He maintained that since inception of the present NDDC board, the Commission had not relented in giving priority to its staff in line with its mantra of transition from transaction to transformation.

To ensure a good condition of service and conducive working environment which would in turn serve as catalyst for high level productivity, Ogbuku said the NDDC was collaborating with institutions that had the requisite expertise in wage administration, policies implementation and revenue generation.

He added: “While we are determined to give staff a very good remuneration package and conditions of service, we are also conscious of the needs of other stakeholders of the region.
There is therefore the need to strike a delicate balance in ensuring that both the needs of stakeholders including staff are met.”.

Speaking,the NDDC Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Alabo Boma Iyaye, said that the theme of the workshop was timely and critical, “as the Commission confront the challenges of attracting, retaining, and motivating top talent in today’s fast-paced business landscape.”

He stated: “Wage administration is a make-or-break issue for organisations. It’s a delicate balancing act between compensating employees fairly and maintaining financial sustainability. But we can’t afford to get it wrong. Effective wage management is the key to unlocking employee satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately, organizational success.”

He implored the staff to see the workshop as a valuable learning experience which required their active participation.

In his presentation,the Chairman National Salaries,Wages and Incomes Commission, NSIWC, Mr. Ekpo Nta who went down Memory Lane to trace the origin of NDDC, told staff that there is need for them to live up to expectations so that the agency will not fizzle away due to non-performance.

He challenged the participants not to allow personal interest override the vision of the organization *but* rather to add value to themselves and the agency.

He noted that achieving the goals of any organisation was tied to the efficiency of the workforce.

LG Autonomy:NLC Warns Against Sabotage Of Supreme Court Verdict

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Labour Congress,NLC has warned against sabotage of the implementation of Thursday’s Supreme verdict which gives full autonomy to local government areas in the country.

“We urge that all necessary measures be taken that this judgment is not sabotaged at the implementation stage”,Comrade Joe Ajaero,President of the labour group said in a statement,wherein he mentioned the conduct of elections at local governments.

According to him,the true freedom of local governments must also come from those who govern them.

He asked:”Should State Independent Electoral Commissionbe allowed to conduct ‘elections’ or should NEC take over (even as they are over-burdened and are not exactly the best example)? Should there be regulatory agency or commission with an oversight over SIECs? We will find the devil in the details through a stake-holder conversation?”

He reasoned that freedom of local governments will be nothing if those who will take charge, end up behaving badly like their predecessors in power.

He also emphasized the need for a self-purgation or a national rebirth as laws or court pronouncements alone may not be enough.

Commending the Supreme Court of Nigeria for restoring power to the Local Governments, Ajaero said the verdict directing that financial allocations be made directly to Local Governments as well as divesting state governments of power to remove local government executives is both courageous and salubrious.

He maintained that the Supreme Court through the landmark judgment has not only restored our democracy but possibly hope in the democracy.

He added:”Not a few believe the stunted national growth or development and the overwhelming surge in crimes and threats to our collective good is directly tied to the seizure and paralysis of local governments by state governments.

ASCSN Urges Calm As Union Appeals Court Ruling

Mohammed Shosanya

​The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN),has implored its members to remain calm, resolute, steadfast and law-abiding as arrangement has been concluded to appeal the Judgment of the National Industrial Court in respect of the leadership of the Union.

Its scribe,Comrade Joshua Apebo,who conveyed this in a statement on Wednesday,emphasized that the ASCSN would ensure that justice was done on the matter.

​He recalled that on Monday, 22nd February 2021, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) arrested and detained Bola-Audu Innocent for alleged case of human trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable persons.

According to him,​the union later resolved that given the enormity of the case and to save the image of the Association and protect his job that Bola-Audu should step aside so that informal channels could be explored by the National Leadership of the Association with the authorities to give him soft landing.

He added:”Instead of abiding by this wise counsel, Bola-Audu elected to recruit thugs to be invading the headquarters of the Association in Lagos and the Annex office in Abuja and also dragged the Union to Court in violation of the Constitution of the Association.

“​He also wrote letters to the banks of the union to put a lien on the bank accounts of the association to cripple its activities.​Against the background of these anti-union activities, the association expelled Bola-Audu from the body in line with the union’s constitution”.

He revealed that the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation also barred him from entering the Treasury House, Abuja,while the Federal Civil Service Commission also suspended him from service but he later smuggled himself back to the Civil Service.

National Minimum Wage Struggle Alive-TUC

Mohammed Shosanya

President of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo,says the struggle for a new national minimum wage in the country is still alive.

Osifo,who disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday,said the Federal Government is still discussing with all relevant stakeholders imcluding the Nigerian Governors Forum, Local Government Administrators as well as the Organised Private Sector and Labour Unions.

He noted that both unions still insists on the N250,000 demand it made to government which was part of the recommendations submitted to the President by the Presidential Tripartite Committee on new national minimum wage.

Osifo,who referred to the existing minimum wage of N30,000 which took two years to be negotiated,assured that the Tripartite Committee has made appreciable progress since January 2024 when negotiations started.

He added:”Minimum wage negotiations cannot be dead, you know when we started this conversation you asked us that in 2017 if you remember we started the minimum wage that was signed in 2019, it took about two years to see the light of day. We promised you when we started in January that we will ensure this one is fast tracked for us not to be in the conundrum that we were as at 2019 which took two years.

“So where we are today, we submitted the divergent position in June, when we did that you know clearly that Mr President came out to say that he wanted to consult across board which is the governors, local government chairmen, organised private sector and labour, so we are doing some level of reachout and conversations.

“So that let what will be submitted to the National Assembly will actually be a minimum wage that will cater for the poorest of the poor, so for the fact that in the media we are not shouting, we are doing some level of internal work so that this bill will be submitted in earnest soon. Ofcourse we still insist on the N250,000 benchmark as idea minimum wage”.

2,659 Corps Members Jostle For NNPC Foundation Business Pitching Exercise

Mohammed Shosanya

A total of 2,659 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) across Nigeria have been pre-qualified for the final phase of the NNPC Foundation Business Pitching Exercise.

The exercise,which is billed to hold between July 2nd and 10th, 2024,is an integral part of the NNPC Foundation’s Financial Literacy Program for Nigerian youths that witnessed the engagement of over 284,000 corps members, who underwent rigorous training and assessments.

Speaking on the exercise,the Managing Director of NNPC Foundation, Mrs. Emmanuella Arukwe said the selection criteria will focus on the feasibility and sustainability of the business idea, market relevance, competitive edge and innovation, scalability, potential impact on the community and the entrepreneurial spirit of the corps members.

“We have identified these 2,659 individuals who are ready to present their business ideas to a distinguished panel of assessors,” Arukwe stated.

Arukwe was quoted in a statement by the company’s spokesman,Femi Soneye,to have informed that the Financial Literacy Program is aligned with the NNPC Foundation’s mission of equipping young Nigerian graduates with necessary skills for personal and professional development.

“By educating corps members on financial management and entrepreneurship, the program aims to empower them to become economically self-sufficient and to contribute positively to society,” she added.

During the pitching exercise, projects that standout will receive startup packs, business advisory services, and opportunities to scale their ventures.

In a related development,the management of NNPC Foundation has facilitated a significant 50% reduction in the registration fee for corps members’ businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

The NNPC Foundation is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of NNPC Limited. Its initiatives focus on enhancing Nigeria’s socio-economic development through targeted interventions in education, health, the environment, access to energy and youth empowerment to foster economic empowerment, promote entrepreneurship, and support sustainable development across the nation.

Herbal Medicine Can Fetch Nigeria Trillions Of Naira-Ajaero

Mohammed Shosanya

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC),Joe Ajaero has said herbal medicine has potentials to generate trillions of Naira for the country through exports.

He disclosed on Wednesday this when he and other national officers of NLC received executive members of the National Association of Herbal Medicine Employers(NAHME),who were at the Labour House Abuja to formally present their certificate of registration and officially declare their affiliation status.

Ajaero said herbal medicine can serve as alternative to conventional medication, adding that it is one area where the Federal government appears to have ignored

According to the NLC President, it would not be out of place for the government to establish herbal hospitals to further legitimize traditional medicine within the country’s healthcare system.

He emphasized the efficacy of herbal medicine, which is rooted in Nigerian culture, asserting its relevance in tackling indigenous health challenges.

He expressed concern over the reliance on imported pharmaceuticals amidst foreign exchange challenges, proposing the advancement of local herbal remedies as a sustainable alternative.

He urged members of the new union to stick to ethical practices and proper research within the sector to uphold standards and ensure efficacy in treatment.

“We understand the importance of herbal medicine but it is still a vague area that we need to explore especially for a country like Nigeria, where the economy is not booming.

“Ordinarily, we should explore this herbal medicine or alternative medicine as they will call it, to the extent that it will be a revenue earner for the country, that we will be exporting our drugs to other countries, and that people can be coming into the country for treatment with our own drugs,’ Ajaero stated.

He said: “That this issue of herbal medicine and alternative medicine is being regulated was part of the problems we inherited from the whites. When they came in here, our religion, our way of life, our way of dressing, everything went down. But, from independence, Nigerians have started going back to their roots. And I do not see why we should not go back to our roots.

“If herbal medicine or alternative medicine is explored in Nigeria, Nigeria will be making trillions through exports of these drugs, and that is an area that I would tell the Nigerian government, that since they are thinking of ways of diversifying the economy, they should consider exploring it adequately.

“The potency of herbal medicine is not in doubt. There are elements that you can not trace their genealogy to English culture. It is rooted in Nigerian culture. And it is clear that we know the solution. Because those illnesses are indigenous to this place.”

Speaking,the President of NAHME Chief Yemi Areola, said; “Herbal medicine can help our country in many ways. It can contribute to the GDP and growth of the economy as it is with countries like China, India and many others. It can equally help to save lives, give many people who cannot afford orthodox medicine help. We need government intervention to move forward.

On his part, General Secretary of the union, Chief Oluyori Francis, said; “our government need to value herbal medicine and consider it as alternative to orthodox and a means of gaining money for the country. Like other countries of the world, we have the capacity to heal our sick people and contribute to economic growth of the country. We are a registered union today by God grace. We need more recognition and support from the government.”

Governors Resolve To Continue Negotiations On Minimum Wage

Mohammed Shosanya

The 36 state governors under the aegis of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF)have resolved to continue engaging with key stakeholders to reach a mutually agreeable solution.

They conveyed this in a communiqué issued at the end of the NGF 7th meeting in 2024, and signed by AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Kwara State.

According to the communiqué, the governors unanimously agreed to continue negotiations, stating that they remain dedicated to the process and assure that better wages will result from the ongoing negotiations.

“We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country.

“Members received the Acting Country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Taimur Samad and his team to discuss the Bank’s various programmes currently being implemented in the States, including HOPE – Series of Projects: Nigeria Human Capital Opportunities for Prosperity and Equality, Food and Nutrition Security, NFWP-SU: Nigeria For Women Project Scale Up, NG-CARES: Nigeria Community Action (for) Resilience and Economic Stimulus Program, SABER: State Action on Business Enabling Reforms Program, SPIN: Sustainable Power and Irrigation for Nigeria Project. Members expressed willingness to continue to provide the much-needed support to ensure programme effectiveness across the country.

“Members received a briefing from Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy & Tax Reforms Committee.

“He highlighted the progress made regarding the ongoing Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms.

“He sought the input and support of their excellencies on a number of proposals which would directly impact the subnational level of government.

“Members pledged their support for the Committee to ensure the successful implementation of these reforms and to collaborate closely to address any challenges that may arise.

“The Forum received a presentation from the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs on the World Bank–Nigeria for Women Project Scale-Up, along with other activities of the Ministry.

“Members noted the importance of the project and emphasized the need to implement it at the State level as initially conceived, as the States are the primary obligors of the project.

“The governors acknowledge the work and contributions of the Ministry of Women Affairs in promoting gender equality, empowering women, and advancing social development across Nigeria.

“The Forum discussed the New National Minimum Wage. The Governors agreed to continue engaging with key stakeholders to reach a mutually agreeable solution. We remain dedicated to the process and assure that better wages will result from the ongoing negotiations”.