Federal Government will open talks with Labour on the new minimum wage in March, Information and National Orientation Minister Alhaji Mohammed Idris said yesterday.

He reiterated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to workers’ welfare, urging the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Nigerians to be patient with the administration.

The minister spoke at the 21st Daily Trust Dialogue and presentation of 2023 African Award of the year in Abuja.

The dialogue, with the theme “Tinubu’s Economic Reforms: Gainers and Losers,” was organised by the Media Trust Group.

At the forum, NLC President Joe Ajaero urged the Federal Government to review policies that are inflicting hardship on Nigerians.

Idris highlighted efforts by the administration to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy removal. He recalled that when the fuel subsidy was removed, the President initially promised to pay N25,000 wage award to workers to cushion its effect.

Idris said: “But labour was not comfortable. We entered into negotiation with the Labour and after long discussion with them and President Tinubu, we arrived and agreed at N35,000 which was accepted.

“And the President said the N35,000 will be paid for six months to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy. That would be from September 2023 to February 2024.

“So, after the payment of wage award for six months; in March, the government and labour will come together again to deliberate on a new minimum wage for workers.

”He added: “However, it is important for Nigerians to understand the intention of President Tinubu to address the welfare and wellbeing of all Nigerians. I know it is not easy, but Nigerians will be better for it.

“I want to call on Nigerians to give President Tinubu the time to make things right for the country.

”Idris said the President has a vision to provide succour to Nigerians, revamp the economy and return the country to prosperity.

He said said some of the palliative measures initiated by the Federal Government were being implemented, despite initial constraints, adding that governors now get about 50% of what they were getting from the Federal Government to tackle the effects of fuel subsidy removal.

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