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New minimum wage: Labour Minister hints on Tripartite Committee’s recommendations


The acting Minister of Labour and Employment, Hon. Nkiruika Onyejeocha on Monday disclosed that the report of the Tripartite Committee on the new minimum wage submitted to President Bola Tinubu reflects a “balanced and realistic approach to addressing the myriad challenges faced by our workforce.”
According to her, “These submissions are not just recommendations; they are a blueprint for actionable reforms that will drive sustainable improvements in labour conditions across the country.”
Hon. Onyejeocha who gave the insight during a one-day retreat on ‘Labour reforms and the quest for living wage in Nigeria: A Focus on Legislative intervention’, organised by National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), for Chairmen and Members of joint Senate and House Committees on Employment, Labour and Productivity, reiterated the present administration’s resolve towards transforming the labour landscape in Nigeria, ensuring that every worker is respected, protected, and fairly compensated.
She also urged the lawmakers to pass bills that reflect the yearnings of our labour force across all sectors, foster productivity and growth amongst our workforce, but also commensurably punish offenders and violators of labour laws.
Hon. Onyejeocha observed that: “The Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is unwavering in its dedication to ensuring that all workers are treated with dignity, work in safe environments, and earn a living wage. Our vision is clear: to create a labour market that is fair, equitable, and capable of sustaining the
aspirations of every Nigerian worker.
“Central to our efforts is the work of the Tripartite Committee comprising of Government, Organized Private Sector and Organized Labour, which has
diligently engaged with stakeholders on the critical issue of a New National Minimum Wage.
“The Committee’s comprehensive submissions to Mr. President reflect a balanced and realistic approach to addressing the myriad challenges faced by our workforce. These submissions are not just recommendations; they are a blueprint for actionable reforms that will drive sustainable improvements in labour conditions across the country.
“One of the key initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment is the Labour and Employment Empowerment Program (LEEP). LEEP embodies our holistic approach to labour reform, with a specific pillar dedicated to labour reforms and labour compliance
enhancement.
“This initiative aims to ensure that employers adhere strictly to the highest standards of occupational health and safety. By fostering a culture of compliance, we are not only protecting workers but also promoting a business environment that is conducive to productivity and growth.
“As we embark on these reforms, we are particularly focused on factories and industrial parks. These areas are critical to our industrial strategy and the well-being of thousands of workers. Our plan is to rigorously enforce safety standards and ensure that employers provide safe and healthy working conditions. This is not just about compliance; it is about creating workplaces where workers can thrive without fear of injury or exploitation.”
While acknowledging the role of legislative intervention, Hon. Onyejeocha underscored the need for the standing Committees saddled with the responsibility of legislative oversight and indeed the Parliament, to enact “laws that protect and empower workers are vital to the success of our reform agenda. Together, and as your colleague, we can do more and indeed, build a legal framework that supports our vision for a just and equitable labour market.
“Let us come together to sponsor and pass bills that reflects the yearnings of our labour force across all sectors. Let us indeed create laws and policies that not only foster productivity and growth amongst our workforce, but also commensurably punish offenders and violators of labour laws. This is the only pathway to true reform!
“In closing, I would like to reaffirm the Government’s unwavering commitment to labour reforms and the living wage. We are on a path to transforming the labour landscape in Nigeria, ensuring that every worker is respected, protected, and fairly compensated. This is our promise to the Nigerian people, and with your continued support, we will achieve it,” she pledged
Speaking earlier, NILDS Director General, Professor Olanrewaju Sulaiman who observed that the industrial relations atmosphere in Nigeria has been characterized by industrial disputes such as strikes, lockouts, and work stoppages, lamented that the situation “has a serious impact on worker productivity and national development, as no nation can develop in an atmosphere of crisis and work stoppages.
“This situation is further compounded by the recent harsh economic conditions of workers, which have been affected by many factors including inflation and high costs of living that have eroded workers’ welfare and weakened living standards. This situation calls for a review of the national minimum wage to ensure that workers’ conditions are improved following present-day realities.
“In the quest for a realistic national minimum wage, the Federal Government of Nigeria has constituted a tripartite national minimum wage negotiation committee, which is expected to come up with a realistic minimum wage rate that will improve the living conditions of Nigerian workers and motivate them for higher productivity.
“Indeed, any agreement reached by the tripartite negotiation committee must be submitted to the legislature for enactment. It is therefore imperative for the legislature to understand the processes of the minimum wage and its implications for worker welfare, economic growth, and the national development of the nation.
“The legislature must also have a holistic view of the environment under which labour administration is carried out in the country.
“It is in recognition of this fact that NILDS has organized this one-day national retreat. The retreat is most relevant as part of the NILDS contribution to the ongoing quest for a sustainable living wage that is capable of supporting the renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in Nigeria.
“In addition, this retreat is also relevant because the issue of the national minimum wage is on the exclusive list that can only be legislated upon by the National Assembly. The platform offered by this seminar will therefore equip members of the Committees and other stakeholders here present to share experiences that will culminate into a robust legislative intervention in the labour reform process.”

Credit: Nigerian Tribune

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