The need to ensure that the new minimum wage does not have a negative effect on the economy is one of the reasons it may not be possible to pay the N30,000 labour unions have insisted must be paid.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this known on Sunday while addressing journalists.
His words: “Basically the only outstanding issue that needs to be dealt with is to harmonise the 5th chapter of the report and get the figures in for the purposes of submission to government…
“Mr President went further to emphasise that the concern is not only for the welfare of the workers but also every other thing should be taken on board as it affects the country’s economy.
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“So it is a balance of the welfare of the workforce with the effect of the new minimum wage and the economy.”
Mustapha who spoke against the backdrop of the meeting called by the Presidency to resolve the crisis generated by the lack of agreement on the amount to be approved for the new minimum wage said the tripartite committee set up had been working hard.
He said as President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier stated, the government was looking beyond taking care of the basic social protection for Nigerian workers alone, but also the ability to pay.
That position, he said, was hinged on the fact that some states were having problems paying the N18,000 current minimum wage.
He said once the report was ready, the president would sign it and the new minimum wage would be effected.
The meeting which was called as a last minute effort to prevent a nationwide strike by Nigerian workers was boycotted by the labour unions.
The different labour unions are united in the resolve to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike on Tuesday.
The bone of contention is the refusal of the government to pay the N30,000 said to have been agreed upon at the tripartite meeting as the new minimum wage.
Despite the said agreement, governors of the 36 states of the federation had declared that they could only afford to pay N22,500.
The Federal Government has also got a court order to stop the workers from embarking on the strike it threatened, saying it would negatively affect the economy.
The labour unions are however bent on carrying out the strike, beginning from Tuesday.