Minimum wage delay not acceptable, NECA tells Buhari

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association on Thursday said the indecisive disposition of the government to the implementation of a new national minimum wage was unacceptable.

The association also described an industrial action in January next year, due to slow action in transmitting a bill to the National Assembly, as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari, as counter-productive and disruptive to businesses in the country.

The Director-General of NECA, Mr Timothy Olawale, in a statement issued in Lagos, expressed concern that seven weeks after the report was submitted by a National Minimum Wage Committee inaugurated by the President, the government was still planning to subject the report to a review by another technical committee.

“Globally, there is a recognised and acceptable process of setting a National Minimum Wage as enshrined in the ILO Convention 131. This process had been adopted in previous National Minimum Wage setting in Nigeria and was meticulously applied by the National Minimum Wage Committee inaugurated by the President in December 2017,” Olawale stated.

He added, “It was expected that following the submission of the National Minimum Wage Committee’s Report to the President on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, expedited action would be taken in transmitting a bill to the National Assembly as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari. This delay in the completion of the process had led to the proposed strike by labour, which is totally undesirable and should be avoided.”

“Businesses are at present encumbered by several challenges and any avoidable labour action at the beginning of the year or any time whatsoever would be counter-productive, disruptive and would not be welcomed,” Olawale said.

Olawale noted that it was pointless to drag the economy down further when it was still reeling under the effects of a recent recession.

The NECA boss reminded the government that the colossal loss borne by businesses during the warning strike in September 2018 had yet to be recovered and further disruption of business activities might sound the death knell for many enterprises.

He averred that with the rate of unemployment as recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics, it is expected that all hands must be on deck to ensure the continued survival of businesses.

While proposing a way out of the threat by the labour union, he urged that “the President should, without delay, transmit an Executive Bill to the National Assembly as promised, to enable it to finalise the process leading to the enactment of a new National Minimum Wage Act. Businesses and the economy at large cannot afford another avoidable strike.”

He noted that the private sector, which is supposed to be the engine-room of national development, was usually the victim of such strikes.

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