By Ese Awhotu
After series of deadlocked meetings, the Federal Government and organised labour unions have reached an agreement on the transmission of an Executive Bill of a new Minimum Wage by the Federal Government to the National Assembly.
The agreement was reached yesterday just as the labour unions across the country embarked on protest to create awareness on the new Minimum Wage for workers organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
The meeting was held at the office of Minister of Labour and Employment which was presided over by the minister, Chris Ngige.
The minister, while speaking with journalists after a closed door meeting with the leadership of the organized labour, hinted that the Federal Government would transmit the bill to NASS on January 23, 2018, after members of the National Assembly returned from their recess.
He disclosed that the Federal Government and the organised labour had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, that on or before Jan. 23, the National Minimum Wage Bill would be sent to the National Assembly.
Ngige assured that “On the part of government, we are going to try to religiously implement all the processes that will enable us to transmit this bill within the stipulated time.
“We have a target time of January 23, and we hope that all things being equal, the executive will be able to do so.”
According to him, the Federal Government will hold necessary meetings next week to ensure the timeline is met.
“As for the transmission of the Executive Bill to the National Assembly, the government will religiously implement all the processes that will enable us to transmit this bill within the stipulated time.
“We have a target time of January 23, 2018, and we hope that all things being equal, the government will be able to do so. We will take all statutory meetings of the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council and the National Council of State meetings to enable us transmit the bill on the new national minimum wage.
However, the President of Trade Union Congress, Kaigama Bobboi, while speaking with journalists, warned that if the Federal Government reneges on the date it promised to transmit the bill to NASS, labour would take action without any warning.
On his part, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, noted that workers have been patient with government for more than two years; and that after the submission of the report by the tripartite committee that deliberated on the minimum wage two months ago, it was expected that the Federal Government would have gone beyond the present stage of making effort to transmit a bill to NASS.
He, however, thanked Ngige for his role in the dialogue.
The minister, had earlier commended labour for its cooperation and understanding, saying that threat of an industrial action should be withdrawn as it was no longer necessary.
“I thank the labour unions for their understanding and appeal to them that the threats should come down. Protests are no longer necessary,” Ngige said.