The Nigeria Governors’ Forum says payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments will be determined by each state based on their Internal Generated Revenue.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Fayemi Kayode, gave an assurance that governors are ready to comply with the 30,000 minimum wage as agreed by the tripartite negotiation committee.
He, however, explained that they cannot be forced to comply with the consequential adjustment.
According to him, payment will be determined majorly by the Internally Generated Revenue of each state and the number of civil servants on their payroll.
This formed part of the deliberations when the governor’s met at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja on Monday.
The development comes just days after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ordered that payments of the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments, must be completed by the 31st of December, 2019.
The Federal Executive Council has agreed on new strategies to help in eliminating the problem of gas flaring in the country.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, while briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said one way to eliminate the problem was to convert the natural gas to methanol.
“One way to help us completely solve this problem of gas flaring is to convert the natural gas into methanol. Methanol is a liquid that finds use in virtually all sectors of the economy.
“You can use methanol for transportation,” he said.
“It can also be used to replace diesel for all these trucks that we find on our high way because it is cheaper and environmentally friendly so that all the problems that are associated with the use of diesel can be solved by the use of methanol.
“Also, our people in the rural areas can use methanol for cooking so that it would replace kerosene which creates sooth and darkens your pot but methanol does not have that. It is very clean”.
With the successful completion of negotiations for the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has ordered that payments must be completed by the 31st of December, 2019.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He stated that a document to this effect is also to be set to the states to guide possible negotiation and implementation.
Ngige said that the Council also approved the payment of all outstanding financial implications of the consequential adjustments as worked out by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, beginning from April 18.
The Federal Executive Council was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The 23 Local Government Areas of Kaduna State have commenced the payment of the new National Minimum wage of N30,000 to their workers.
The Executive Chairman of Kajuru Local Council, Cafra Caino, confirmed this to Channels Television in an interview on behalf of his colleagues.
He explained that the payment took effect from September and cut across all civil servants from grade level one to 16.
Caino said that the implementation of the new minimum wage at the local government level was to support Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s effort at strengthening the civil service and improving the welfare of workers in the state.
He also noted that all the 23 local governments in the state enjoy full autonomy and control their finances.
According to the Kajuru LG boss, this practice has made the chairmen not only to pay workers’ salaries but to also execute other developmental projects at the grassroots.
The Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jafaru Sani, also confirmed the development in another interview with Channels Television.
He explained that workers from grade levels one to six would receive a higher percentage of minimum wage than those from seven to 16.
Sani said that the successful implementation of the new minimum wage for local government workers was due to the reforms carried out by the Local Government Service Commission.
This, according to him, include blocking all financial leakages, cutting down the cost of governance, and screening out ghost and redundant workers from the public service.
With the successful implementation of the new minimum wage, the commissioner urged the workers to reciprocate the gesture by demonstrating a high level of commitment, steadfastness, and dedication in the discharge of their duties.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Mr Kayode Fayemi, says Nigerian governors do not want workers to down tool on the issue of minimum wage.
Fayemi who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the N30,000 minimum wage recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari should rather be an incentive that will boost the productivity of Nigerian workers.
He noted that it was on the basis of this that the NGF collectively agreed to increase the salaries of workers in their domain.
“We don’t want workers to down tools, we want productivity to increase and that is why we said we are ready to pay N30,000.
“We are even ready to pay a level of consequential adjustment but that has to be determined on a state by state basis,” he said.
Although the governor agreed that not all fingers are equal, indicating that not all states are financially buoyant, he however, wants a situation whereby the labour leaders will strike an understanding with the respective state governors.
This to him is because when the governors are being put under undue pressure, it may rather affect the plight of the workers rather than assisting them in view of the current economic realities.
“But clearly fingers are not equal at the state level, there will be challenges and I hope labour and state governments will both display a level of understanding that will assist the workers,” he stated.
Explaining further, he said: “The challenge that we have at the level of governors is on the consequential adjustment which has now been agreed by labour and the Federal Government.
“And for us, we will be meeting. I don’t want to give you a view until my colleagues and I have met to review how we are going to look at the template that has come out of the negotiations at the federal level and see how that can be applied.”
When asked when his administration intends implementing the minimum wage payment, the governor replied saying: “We are starting this month in Ekiti State.”
The Federal Government and organised labour have reached an agreement on the implementation of the new minimum wage after three days of talks that ran through nights and ended in the wee hours of mornings.
At a meeting which started around 7 pm on Thursday and ended after 2 am on Friday, both sides finally agreed on the percentage increase for grade levels seven to 17.
The adjustments for the various wages structures were decided as follows:
COMESS wage structure
Grade level seven= 23 per cent, level 8=20 per cent, level 9=19 per cent, level 10 -14 = 16 per cent, level 15-17=14 per cent.
CONHES, CONRRISE, CONTISS, etc
Level 7= 22.2 per cent
Level 8-14 = 16 per cent
Level 15-17 = 10.5 per cent
The meeting also increased the salaries of military and paramilitary officers, but the percentages were kept confidential.
According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, the details of the increase will be communicated to the military and paramilitary organisations through the appropriate channels.
Dr Ngige expects the adjustments to be implemented immediately.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, had first tweeted about a breakthrough in the talks around 10 pm on Thursday.
After some delicate negotiations (with both Ministers as conciliators) Government & Labour have finally reached an agreement on the consequential adjustments of other wages following the implementation of the enhanced minimum wage of N30,000. We are now working on the communique pic.twitter.com/P0EjSdUFIj
The talks between the Federal Government and labour leaders which started on Monday had helped to prevent workers from embarking on a nationwide industrial action.
After failing to reach an agreement with the government on the full implementation of the new minimum wage, more than five months after it was signed into law, labour issued a two-week ultimatum to the government.
The source of disagreement was the percentage for the consequential wage increase for workers based on the new minimum of N30,000.
Organised labour had initially demanded a 66 percent salary increase for workers on levels seven to 17. It later reduced the percentage downward to 29 percent for levels seven – 14 and 24 percent for levels 15 to 17.
The Federal Government, however, offered to pay 11 percent for workers on grade levels seven to 14 and 6.5 percent for those on levels 15 to 17.
In rejecting the government’s offer, labour leaders argued that the percentages being offered by the government would be ineffective for workers in the light of the currency devaluation, fuel price hike, value-added tax increase and electricity tariff increase all of which occurred in recent years with the minimum wage at N18,000.
Two days to the expiration of the ultimatum, both sides returned to the table, first averting a strike and coming to a compromise for the full implementation of the new minimum wage.
As part of efforts to reduce the cost of governance, the Federal Government has directed the revenue mobilisation commission to review the allowances of political office holders including governors and lawmakers.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Wednesday, during a meeting with members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Abuja.
Ngige also decried the huge sum of recurrent expenditure in the proposed 2020 budget, insisting that there is no option other than to cut down the cost of running the government.
“We cannot allow the government to shut down the economy because they want to pay salaries and wages. The 2020 budget of N10.3trillion has N3.88trillion as personal cost without an overhead. A budget that is 76% recurrent and 24% capital, for me, this is nothing to cheer about.
“Revenue mobilisation commission will also beam a searchlight and review what they are giving for political officeholders. Some of the allowances in their prescriptions are not allowances that should be gotten.
“What is a governor doing with hazard allowance? What is the hazard about, when the state is feeding him and his family? What is a governor doing with constituency allowance? The whole state is his constituency.
“These are things that will be holistically reviewed,” Ngige said.
The Minister concluded that both workers and politicians must be ready to make sacrifices so that more money will be available for infrastructure.
The Federal Government and representatives of organised labour have failed to reach an agreement on the full implementation of the new minimum wage, which includes the consequential adjustments of salaries for civil servants from grade level 7 to 17.
Members of both parties will also meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to finalise and possibly reach an agreement.
According to Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Amaechi Asugwuni, the meeting will help to address issues that remain critical.
“We actually thought the meeting will be concluded today but that prediction was unsuccessful, and therefore adjournment became necessary. To the best of our knowledge, the struggle we say continue applies.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday) we meet at 2 pm and that meeting also determine the fate of parties. We expect that we close that meeting positively. So far, commitments have been shown, but we believe the areas that are still in context are critical,” he added.
The rescheduled meeting which is the deadline of the ultimatum issued by labour is also expected to iron out grey areas, and the Acting Head of Service who represented the Federal Government, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan stated that a final agreement will be reached after the meeting.
“Both sides have made a lot of concessions but we discovered that there are some grey areas that need to be ironed out, so some documents and information are being sourced, which we are providing and by tomorrow discussions will continue and we believe that we will be able to get everything resolved by tomorrow.”
The labour unions are demanding for a 29 percent salary increase for officers on grade 7 to 14, and 24 percent for grade 15 to 17, but the Federal Government is proposing 11 percent for officers on grade level 7 to 14, and 6.5 percent for officers on grade level 15 to 17.
Both the government and the workers’ unions are however keeping sealed lips on who is ready to shift grounds on the demands and proposals already made.
Sanwo-Olu said his Government understood the day-by-day challenges being faced by workers in the State to do their tasks, which informed the decision by his administration to pay more than the N30,000 minimum wage benchmark.
The addition, the Governor pointed out, was to motivate workers and encourage them to cope with challenges that may hinder their productivity.
He said: “As a government, we take the issue of minimum wage very seriously. We know how important and germane it is to the wellbeing of our people. We are technically ready to implement the new minimum wage. I made a commitment during my previous interactions with the labour unions before my assumption of office and I am still keeping to the promise made. However little it is, we will certainly pay more than N30,000 minimum wage.
“We understand the position Lagos occupies and we understand the challenges workers are facing in Lagos. If other states can raise up to that amount, I believe Lagos needs to show a bit more to appreciate workers’ contribution to the growth of our State.”
During interaction with the labour unions’ leaders, Sanwo-Olu listened to various demands of the workers, which included arrears of workers’ medical allowance, introduction of premium insurance for the workforce, timely pension payment for retired workers, mortgage scheme for housing, befitting labour secretariat and representation of workers’ unions in MDA boards’ appointments.
Sanwo-Olu said he had directed the Commissioner for Finance to look into the unpaid arrears of workers’ medical allowance, with a charge to clear the backlog and make payment to the affected workers. The Governor added that the State was planning to absorb its entire workforce in the recently introduced health insurance scheme, observing that the Ministry of Health was harmonising the modality to ensure all workers were covered in the scheme.
The Government, Sanwo-Olu said, will collaborate with the Organised Labour Unions to float a post-retirement housing scheme that would enable workers of all cadres to apply and acquire permanent homes after leaving the service. Lagos, the Governor promised, would be donating land for the purpose, while the labour unions would source for finance to develop the scheme.
In addition, Sanwo-Olu said his government had approved discounted rent for the workers occupying State-owned apartments. This, he said, is part of the welfare programmes introduced by his Government to improve workers’ productivity.
The Governor said his administration had started to tackle challenges limiting the workers’ productivity, including massive rehabilitation of critical highways across the state to reduce travel time and diffuse road congestion.
The Labour leaders commended the governor, describing him as “a listening leader” who had started to fulfil promises made to the unions in the build-up to the 2019 elections.
Chairman of Lagos Council of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo, listed re-introduction of Town Hall meeting with labour unions and appointment of more women into the State’s cabinet as part of the promises fulfilled by the Governor.
Ekundayo informed the Governor that the labour unions had been meeting to develop a framework that would make the Government capture traders in the informal sector in the tax net. He assured that the labour unions’ recommendations would be submitted to the Head of Service (HOS), Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, in the coming weeks.
Chairperson of the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Funmi Sessi, described workers as government’s partners in progress while appreciating Sanwo-Olu for keeping some of his promises with the workers’ unions.
She promised that the Organised Labour would continue to support the Government’s efforts towards improving the wellbeing of the residents and workers in the State.
Sanwo-Olu also met with members of Lagos State Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) led by Comrade Rasak Falade at the State House.
Top government officials who joined Gov. Sanwo-Olu at both meetings with Organised Labour Unions’ leaders included the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle, and HOS, Mr Muri-Okunola, among others.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has explained the process of the government’s implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage.
He confirmed that while the new minimum wage has been implemented from Salaries Grade Level 1 to 7, that of levels 7- 17 are being considered as negotiations are ongoing.
According to him, it is a consequential adjustment because once those at the lowest rungs of the ladder begin to earn N30,000, their salaries will impinge into the Level 6/7.
Consequently, there has to be a process of “collective bargaining”.
According to him, “it’s not a general wage review”.
The minister further explained that the government in anticipation of a general wage review has put in place a presidential committee on salaries on wages for which the Minister of Finance is the chairman, assisted by himself (Ngige) and other ministers.
“We are putting a report to the government on a general wage review because there are some agencies of government that the salaries of people on the same level with those in pure civil service, when compared, the man in that agency is earning times three, 300 per cent of what the person is earning”.
About a week ago, organised labour, had issued a strike notice to the Federal Government, asking the Minister of Labour to re-convene the negotiating meeting and finalise on the issues of consequential salaries adjustment for workers who are in salaries grade level seven and above.
The unions are demanding for 29 per cent salary increase for officers on grade seven to 14, and 24 per cent for grade 15 to 17, but the government is proposing 11 per cent for officers on grade level 7 to 14, and 6.5 per cent for officers on grade level 15 to 17.
They are expected to meet on Tuesday with heads of government agencies and parastatals, to try to reach an agreement on what amount can actually be paid to workers.
Leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have insisted that despite ongoing talks with the Federal Government, mobilisation for a strike action continues.
Labour leaders met with representatives of the Federal Government on Monday to deliberate on the full implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage and the consequential adjustment of salaries for civil servants.
Addressing journalists after a two-hour meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment in Abuja, the Deputy President of the NLC, Mr Amaechi Asugwuni stated that the labour unions will only back down if there is a consensus at the joint negotiating meeting with the FG on Tuesday.
“We believe that the meeting today will give birth to whatever you see tomorrow, but labour is prepared to take any step in driving their demands home. We believe we have done beyond the expectation, so what is needed of Government is to reciprocate in doing what is needful in appreciating their workers.
“We are talking about compensation, salary and tomorrow’s meeting is truly the benchmark for action but mobilisation continues, labour mobilization continues, tomorrow’s meeting will tell us the way forward because anything can happen,” he added.
Mr Asugwuni added that the meeting showed that labour had shifted from it’s earlier position and it is only left for the government to see sense in their demands.
“The impact of today’s meeting is that we have given them the fact they need to the extent that labour will not tolerate anything short of reasonable adjustment in the ongoing negotiation.
“The consequential adjustment is a matter of percentage, certainly when you say what you want; it depends on government to see sense in what you demand, as a matter of fact, labour has shifted and we believe we have done beyond the expectation.”
Organised labour, a week ago, issued a strike notice to the Federal Government, asking the Minister of Labour to re-convene the negotiating meeting and finalize on the issues of consequential salaries adjustment for workers who are in salaries grade level seven and above.
The unions are demanding for 29 percent salary increase for officers on grade seven to 14, and 24 percent for grade 15 to 17, but the FG is proposing 11 percent for officers on grade level 7 to 14, and 6.5 percent for officers on grade level 15 to 17.