Tinubu tasks finance minister with developing new minimum wage template

President Bola Tinubu has instructed the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to present a template for a revised minimum wage, according to Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation. 

This announcement was made in Abuja on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, following a meeting between a Federal Government delegation and the President regarding the new minimum wage.

The directive comes as the government seeks to address the concerns of workers and labor unions regarding the current minimum wage. The development of a new template is expected to provide a framework for determining a fair and appropriate minimum wage that aligns with the country's economic realities and the needs of the workforce.

“The President has directed the Minister of Finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today and tomorrow so that we can have some figures ready for negotiations with labour.

“Mr President is determined to go with what the committee has set. He is also looking at the welfare of Nigerians,” he said.

Idris said the government is not an opponent of labour or wage increase.

The FG delegation includes Idris; Edun; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha; Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari.

Earlier on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, the organised labour suspended its nationwide strike which started at midnight on Monday. Akume had on Monday night said the President was committed to a national minimum wage above ₦60,000.

“The tripartite committee is to meet every day for the next one week with a view to arriving at an agreeable national minimum wage,” Akume had said, adding that the organised labour, in deference to the high esteem of the President, agreed to convene a meeting of its organs immediately to consider the commitment of the President.

Businesses, airports, universities, hospitals, and power supply were affected as Labour began an indefinite strike on Monday over Labour’s demand for a new minimum wage.

Both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 can no longer cater to the well-being of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors are paying the current wage award which expired in April 2024, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Act should be reviewed every five years to meet the contemporary economic demands of workers.

Labour later handed the Federal Government a May 31 deadline for the new minimum wage. On May 31, the workers’ organs in the country declared a nationwide strike beginning on Monday, June 3, 2024, over the government committee’s inability to agree on a new minimum wage and reversal of the electricity tariff hike.

During the failed talks with the government, Labour rejected three government offers, the latest being N60,000. The TUC and the NLC subsequently pulled out of negotiations, insisting on ₦494,000 as the new minimum wage.
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