Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said that the Federal Government had set up a committee that would prepare the ground for a total salary review in 2020.
The minister noted that the government had envisaged difficulty in reaching an agreement with labour especially on salary increase and consequential adjustment.
Ngige said this on Thursday while hosting a delegation of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), led by its Director-General, Timothy Olawale, in his office in Abuja.
He said the committee put in place to work on the total review of workers’ salaries would submit its report on December 9.
Nigige added that the government’s personnel budget had risen from N1.88trillion to N3.08trillion between 2016 and 2020.
“Today, we are yet to conclude on the matter of the new minimum wage. This is because in the public sector which is mainly governmental; state, local government and Federal Government, there has not been a conclusive end to it.
“As we speak, the issue of consequential adjustment is the main issue. The Minimum Wage Act was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18, 2019. From that day the National Minimum Wage came to effect. All employers of labour in the public and private sector are expected to obey the law of the land and make sure that the least paid worker in the lowest rung of the ladder receives N30,000 minimum wage.
“However, the private sector is not really so much in trouble. From N18,000, they (private companies) have graduated with some paying more than N30,000 as minimum wage. We have a problem with the public service and we are battling to see how we can weather the storm.”
The minister stressed that the consequential adjustment is not synonymous with total wage review.
“It is an adjustment you do consequentially to move the last man on the rung of the ladder to N30,000. By doing so, you impede on other salary grade levels and, therefore, you must consequentially move them up,” he said.
“Consequential movement up does not mean that you do a percentage of the former minimum wage to the present one which is 67 percent. We have agreed on that but the issue is that they (labour) have mistakenly bounded the two together. The issue of consequential movement and the issue of total wage review.”
“We are working on that area. That area is important because the FG budget of personnel cost has risen astronomically from N1.88trillion to N3.08trillion between 2016 and 2020. That is more than 100 per cent and it is worrisome.
“Therefore, government has put up the committee to evaluate all the earnings in the public service of the federation to make sure that work and earning are syncronised in such a way that productivity will also come into play.”
In his response, the NECA boss said if labour and government failed to reach an agreement again over the new minimum wage, the option open would be to approach the National Industrial Court instead of embarking on strike.