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FG Can’t Meet Labour’s Minimum Wage Demand – Ngige


Ahead of the resumed negotiation between the Federal Government and
Labour leaders today October 16, the Minister of Labour and Employment
Chris Ngige has stated that the Nigerian government can’t meet the
minimum wage demand. 

Reacting to the disagreement that ensued with Labour leaders on
the percentage of increment for senior workers after the Federal
Government started paying workers on Grade Levels 1 to 6 the N30,000
minimum wage, the Minister said the Nigerian economy will grind to a
halt like that of Venezuela if it gives in to the labour union demands. 

Ngige further disclosed that there will be no money to build roads,
airports, rails, health centres and schools if FG gives in to the labour
union demands as payment of salaries to 1.4 million workers in federal
public service will take 33 per cent of the 2020 budget.

Urging labour leaders to accept the Federal Government’s proposal,
the Labour Minister added that he will not sit back and watch them
intimidate Nigerian leaders. 

“We cannot allow government to shut down the economy because it wants
to pay salaries and wages. The 2020 Budget of N10.3 trillion has N3.8
trillion as personnel cost without overhead. If you add running cost and
other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the
National Assembly has taken 76 per cent. Where do we get the money to
build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools etc.

“It is a matter of balancing a budget that is 76 per cent recurrent
and 24 per cent capital, for me, it is nothing to cheer about. In the 76
per cent, government has captured N200 billion for consequential
adjustment for the minimum wage and so on. These are all part of
personnel. N160 billion is for consequential adjustment of the minimum
wage and not total package of workers’ salaries. Everybody has to make
sacrifice. We must plug leakages.

“The ghost workers should go and we should know who the real workers
are. As of today, we have 1.3 million persons in the federal civil
service and maybe it will be more by the time we finish bringing
everybody into the IPPS.

“The number of workers, 1.4 million or 1.5 million out of 200 million
people take 33 per cent of the budget which has deficit. It is
important we know this. It is up to us to use all the money to pay
salaries and the economy will grind to a halt and be like Venezuela”
Ngige said while receiving members of the Nigeria Union of Local
Government Employees (NULGE) led by its National President, Ibrahim
Khaleel. 

“We must give government benefit of the doubt. I am for labour and I
will not sit and watch the being cheated. I will also not seat and watch
labour intimidate government. If you dangle strike, it is intimidation
and ILO Convention does not permit it.

“People should negotiate freely. If government threatens you in the course of negotiation, it is intimidation.

“I am your friend and friend of government. In fact, government feels
I am not doing enough. That is why I am talking to you so that you can
talk to your people,” he added. 

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Last Updated: October 16, 2019

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