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SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY: TRIPARTITE AGENDA FOR MINIMUM WAGE BY PRESIDENT TINUBU, GCFR   

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SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUITY: TRIPARTITE AGENDA FOR MINIMUM WAGE BY PRESIDENT TINUBU, GCFR                                                           09-02-24

By Sadiq Aminu                                                    Social Justice and Equity: Tripartite Agenda for Minimum Wage By President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR Being a speech by His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, during the inauguration of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee at the Council Chambers, Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, on January 30, 2024,

Protocol…

1. Once again, we gather here today to reinforce our earnest desire to foster a motivated workforce. Once again, we are here to reaffirm our promise to improve the welfare of Nigerian workers and, by extension, the entire nation. The labour force stands as the cornerstone of the progress of every nation, and ours has been the enduring engine of our pursuit of development. I, therefore, welcome the nominees of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee, comprising the Government, Employers, and Labour Unions, who have been carefully selected for the crucial task of renegotiating a new National Minimum Wage for workers in Nigeria.

2. Our sense of duty today thrives on both our sensitivity to the conditions of the Nigerian worker and the impending expiration of the last Minimum Wage Instrument in a few months. It is in recognition of the need to ensure a fair and decent living wage, and in compliance with the Act, that the Federal Government has set in motion necessary mechanisms to assemble this tripartite Committee to chart a future that aligns with our collective interests.

3. While the decisions we have taken to save the economy are inevitable, we are not unaware of the short-term consequences. We believe that government is a continuum, and, as such, we have intervened in the systemic delays that undermined our economic growth. Since the removal of the subsidy, various committees have been established to examine and make recommendations to the government on measures to cushion the envisaged painful effects of the increase on workers and the Nigerian populace at large. I am pleased to share that action has since commenced on the implementation of the outcome of those agreements and initiatives.

4. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this gathering stems from the deliberations of one of the Technical Committees, which included representatives from both Government and Organized Labour. We have identified the need for the review of the National Minimum Wage and to consider a minimum wage level that can alleviate the nation. It gladdens my heart that the recommendation is being acted upon today, and we can all acknowledge that this is in line with our democratic process and adherence to the rule of law. I express my gratitude to all those who contributed to that endeavour.

5. Given the comprehensive membership scope of this new National Minimum Wage Committee, it includes all stakeholders. Recognizing the significance of this initiative and to ensure a substantial engagement, I hereby direct that Ministers and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation should personally attend the meeting. In their unavoidable absence, their Permanent Secretaries should represent them. Similarly, Governors are expected to attend in person or be represented by their Commissioners where necessary. I urge you to consider the issue of a National Minimum Wage and all related matters with thoroughness and concern, keeping in mind not only the welfare of our workforce but also the impact on the country’s economy.

6. The issue of a National Minimum Wage for the Federation falls within the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). Therefore, our objective should be to surpass the basic Social Protection Floor for all Nigerian workers, considering the sustainable payment capacity of each tier of government and other employers or businesses.

7. I express this viewpoint because the minimum wage represents the least amount of compensation an employee should receive for their labor, and as such, it should be rooted in social justice and equity. I hope that the results of your deliberations will be consensual and acceptable to all parties involved.

8. The government’s decision, following the consideration of your final recommendation, will be presented as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly. This bill, enriched by the contributions of state

governments and private sector employers, will undergo thorough legislative scrutiny before being passed into law.

9. I am hopeful that the Committee will employ the principles of full consultation with Social Partners and their direct participation, considering the core provisions of the International Labour Organization Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No. 26, both of which have been ratified by Nigeria.

10 Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in accordance with this, the conditions of genuine Social Dialogue should prevail in the spirit of Tripartism and Collective Bargaining Agreements. I, therefore, encourage all of you to engage in collective bargaining in good faith, recognize each other, and maintain a spirit of give and take. Additionally, please continue your consultations outside the Committee as you work towards recommending a new National Minimum Wage

11 The Committee is anticipated to conclude its deliberations promptly and submit its report and recommendations. This timely submission is crucial to initiate the necessary processes for implementing a new National Minimum Wage. The Hon. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy has been instructed to allocate the essential funds and logistics to the Committee, facilitating the timely completion of its assigned task

12. I hereby inaugurate the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage and extend my best wishes for fruitful deliberations.

13 Thank you, and may God bless us all.

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