Obiano reiterates Anambra’s resolve to pay new minimum wage

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Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra state says his administration will be one of the first few states to pay the new national minimum wage once Federal Government released payment guidelines.

Obiano made this known in his address to mark the 2019 Workers’ Day Celebration on Wednesday in Awka.

“I have formally declared the intention of my administration to pay the newly approved minimum wage in the state.

“And I will begin the implementation once the guidelines for the payment of the minimum wage are released by the Federal Government.

“All the demands tabled before the Special Committee on Labour Issues headed by my Deputy, Nkem Okeke, have been approved in principle,” Obiano said.

He said his administration had been fair to the state workers.

“We have never failed to pay salaries, come rain come shine. We have cleared outstanding pensions that had accumulated for over 25 years, from the inception of our state.

“We have continued to give out bags of rice to workers to give everyone a sense of belonging during Christmas seasons.

“The Mass Transit buses we provided have made life more bearable to our workers. And in the middle of all these, we are carrying out the renovation of our secretariat to give it a proper facelift.

He said the government has been doing all these because it because it values the workers. “We believe in you. And we want the very best for the state,” he said.

He said that his administration had over the past five years enjoyed perfect relations with the organised labour in the state.

“We have worked in absolute harmony with labour to ensure that Anambra’s steady and assured steps to progress are not derailed by labour issues,” Obiano affirmed.

 

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May Day: Labour wants FG to tackle insecurity

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As Nigerian workers join their counterparts around the world to mark this year’s May Day, a labour group, Federation of Informal Workers’ Organisations in Nigeria (FIWON) has stressed the need for the Federal Government to devise workable means of ending mass killing of Nigerians and re-route the economy on growth path in order to create jobs for the growing population.
The latest estimates by the United Nations (UN) put Nigeria’s population at 201 million people. This is amid rising wave of insecurity, unemployment, decayed infrastructure, poor sanity, inadequate transportation and healthcare facilities.
The group believes that unless the issues are adequately tackled, despondency among the population will continue to grow.  
Gbenga Komolafe, general secretary of FIWON, who raised concern about the deteriorating living condition of Nigerians, especially workers in both the informal and formal sectors of the economy, as they join the rest of the world to celebrate workers’ day (today), said it was high time government at all levels set their priority right to restore hope to the people.
According to Komolafe, while critical services such as electricity and potable water supply have defied solution, essential services, especially functional public education, healthcare services, sanitation, basic shelter and modern transportation infrastructure – especially roads and railways remain in the realms of endless promises.
He also decried high rate of youth unemployment and the harassment of those working in the informal sector.
“We use the occasion of the 2019 May Day to express our solidarity with the working masses in the Nigerian informal economy. Apart from the indignities of daily harassments on the streets, we deplore the institutional criminalisation meted out to informal workers. It is against this backdrop that we condemn unequivocally the passage of a new bill by the Nigerian Senate to clamp down
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Showdown between FG, NLC inevitable over NSITF Board

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The Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) appear to have intensified their face-off over the constitution of the Board of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), even as NLC on Sunday demanded that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, inaugurate the Board of the NSITF under the chairmanship of Frank Ovie Kokori before the 2019 May Day.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment had through a statement announced the replacement of Comrade Kokori with Austine Enajemo-Isere and his transfer to the Board of Michael Imodu National Institute of Labour Studies (MINLS) Ilorin, a diploma-awarding institution in Labour Relations as Chairman, which it added followed due process and has the necessary presidential approval.
“The approval for this exercise was given by the appropriate approving authority which is the President and duly communicated to the Ministry of Labour and Employment. This is also in line with the Act establishing the NSITF which confers such powers on the President on the recommendation of the Hon. Minister,” the ministry had said.
NLC however, disagreed with the Ministry’s position and mobilised its men to oppose it.  NLC President Ayuba Wabba had alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari had appointed Kokori as the Chairman of Board of the NSITF but that the Minister Ngige changed the appointment.
The NLC President in a statement on Sunday demanded that Minister inaugurate the Board of the NSITF under the chairmanship of Chief Kokori before the 2019 May Day.
“If Kokori has been declared by renowned world leaders as prisoner of conscious and has been appointed by Mr President, the minister had no right to manipulate the process by changing it,” the union leader said.
“Kokori has not been informed that there is a new chairman of the board. The minister
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Structural Challenges will limit Impact of Higher Minimum Wage

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On 18 April, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-Enactment Act 2019, which prescribes an upward adjustment in national minimum wage to N30,000/month (US$83.3)from N18,000 (US$50.0).

The 67 percent increase in minimum wage follows months of agitation by the labour union which, in our view, is not misplaced, considering the purchasing power of the previous minimum wage more than halved between 2011 and 2018.

Nigeria’s labour productivity barely grew within the period, with data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showing per unit labour productivity (real output of employed population per hour) grew in real terms at a rather underwhelming Compound annual growth rate of 1.2 percent between 2011 and 2016.

However, our analysis reveals labour unit cost (real compensation of employed population per hour) fell at an annual rate of 4.2 percent within the same period. This implies that unit labour cost has not kept up with the modest growth in productivity since the previous minimum wage was passed in 2011.

 

Impact on medium term growth limited by slack labour market and weak fiscal revenues

Although we expect the increase in minimum wage to have a positive knock-on impact on consumption expenditure-which has stagnated in recent years -the policy falls short of deeper fiscal and economic reforms required to lift medium growth outlook above 3 percent level.

Our conclusion rests on two arguments. First, the capacity of the Federal Government (FG) and sub-nationals to fund higher personnel costs without reducing public investment in human and physical capital is limited.

This is against the backdrop of unresolved revenue challenges, reflected in limited fiscal space to raise aggregate expenditure or significantly increase deficit spending. Secondly, the private sector will struggle to implement the new minimum wage in the interim, … Read More...