From left: Minister of science and Technology, Ogbonanya Onu, minister of trade and investment, Okechukwu Enelemah, minister of Labour and productivity, Chris Ngige, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo during a FEC meeting.

By Victor Ernest

Minister of Labour and Productivity Chris Ngige says the Federal Government is ready to negotiate a new minimum wage with the organised labour.

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The minister believes the negotiation would definitely lead to increased minimum wage but said he cannot guarantee the asking wage of N56, 000 by the workers.

The country’s organised labour has been mounting pressure on the government to increase the national minimum wage of workers from N18, 000 to N56, 000.

But, the Federal Government has been dragging its feet in constituting a tripartite committee to negotiate the modalities that would enable the government meet up with the demand.

Tripartite committee

However, the labour minister, who spoke to newsmen at the ongoing 106th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland, assured that the Federal Government would soon announce the members of the national minimum wage negotiation committee.

”The issue of minimum wage is a tripartite thing involving the employers, workers and the government and the three of us are talking and have agreed that there is the need to review the issue of minimum wage in Nigeria.

”You cannot fix a time limit for the new minimum wage because it is a negotiation that is ongoing. But we are sure and we have seen the reason there must be an increase.

”Some people have taken their position. The workers have demanded N56,000 and the employers have said we cannot pay N56,000. But everything being said now is outside the orbit of the negotiation table.

”When the committee comes into force, then actual discussion will start and that committee will come into force in the a forthright,” the minister said.