Apanel to negotiate a new national minimum wage for public sector workers will be inaugurated before the end of this month, the Federal Government has said.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, who dropped the hint yesterday in Abuja, said: “I am sure before the month runs out, the panel will be in place.”The minister spoke through a text message.The national minimum wage committee, when inaugurated by the government, will oversee the modalities across the board.

The minimum wage was reviewed from N18, 000 to N30, 000 on April 18, 2019 and signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

But following the removal of subsidy payment on petroleum products, the two Labour centres – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – have been advocating for a wage increase.

One of the demands of Labour was an upward review of the national wage to N200, 000.The Nation learnt that the delay in inaugurating the panel was because the government was fine-tuning the names of panel members from its side.

A source told this reporter that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu demanded for the list during the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.The minister confirmed that the list will soon be submitted to the President and the committee inaugurated.

By its tripartite nature, the committee is made up of persons from the public sector, (federal and state governments) and the private sector made up of the largest private employer group, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).

Others on the committee include representatives of the NLC, TUC and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, among others.

TUC’ Deputy National President, Tommy Okon, said both the NLC and TUC had sent the names of their representatives on the committee to the government.

He said: “We are ready for the negotiation of the new minimum wage. We are waiting for the inauguration of the committee. Both the TUC and NLC have submitted their names to the government.”

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