FG, Labour Talks on Minimum Wage, Palliatives Cordial, Says Ngige


Olawale Ajimotokan and Paul Obi in Abuja
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has described the parley of the technical committee that was inaugurated yesterday on the national minimum wage, the implementation of N500 billion palliatives and the reconstitution of the board of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which is to look at the template to determine the fixing of the price of petro as very positive.
The 16-man bilateral committee comprising stakeholders from the side of government and labour and other stakeholders was inaugurated yesterday by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal.
Prof. Adamu K. Usman is the Secretary of the committee. Other members representing the federal government include: Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of National Salaries and Wages Commission, Chief R.O Egbule and the representative of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
On the other hand, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) would be represented by Peter Adeyemi, C Amaechi Asugwuni, Ibrahim Khaleel, Igwe Achese and Abdullahi Sale, while the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) will be represented by Augustine Etafo, Alade Bashir Lawal and Abdullahi Sale.
The committee is to look at the implementation of the key demands which union put forward to cushion the effect of deregulation of the downstream section on the public.
The technical committee also had in attendance the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba.
The third aspect of the work which is the composition of PPPRA, is almost fully constituted and awaiting inauguration.
It is to be chaired by Muhammadu Buba, the former Managing Director of Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC).
Ngige, who is the chairman of the technical committee, addressed journalists after the deliberation, saying they had drawn a frame work on the agreements to be submitted to the general house, otherwise referred to as the committee of the whole, after the committee substantially addressed a lot the issues in its mandate on the first day of its work.
Ngige said the committee would reconvene after June 20 because many members of the committee will be attending the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
“We have set some framework which we soon submit to the general house. We, as a committee, have started our work and everything is cordial. There was no ruffling of feathers and we are working for the betterment of Nigeria,” he said.
Wabba also echoed Ngige’s line on the progress and confidence building by the committee.
The NLC president said the joint committee between government and organised labour went straight into addressing its mandate and the issues associated with those committee issues.
He said the committee work is a work in progress and would look at the framework fro minimum wage and palliative to lessen the effects deregulation on the people.
“I concur with the minister on what he had told the media. The labour has committed itself in good faith to driving the process effectively. Labour is participating fully to ensure that this process is driven to a logical conclusions for the benefits of all of us,” Wabba said.