The Federal Government has clarified that payment of the N30,000 new wage to states workers started from April 18, the date when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Minimum Wage Amendment Act Bill into law.
The FG also declared that no Governor in the 36 states of the Federation is exempted from paying the new N30,000 minimum wage.
Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, gave the clarification, at the weekend during an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja. He said:
“It is a national law and no governor can say he will not pay. (The) national minimum wage is Item 34 on the Exclusive Legislative List, of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“Issue of labour is also there and not on the Concurrent List. If it is on the Concurrent List, then, they can make their own state Assembly laws on that. Every state government is now owing workers if they have not started paying N30,000.
“They (employers) are owing workers, effective from 18th of April, a new minimum wage.
“We are now in a committee working out a new template with which we will adjust upward the consequential adjustment upstairs for those already earning above N30,000.
“In 2011, there was a mistake in the consequential adjustment in some states, when they applied the principle of percentage increase across board and they ran into trouble and were unable to pay. What this N30,000 translates into is that there is a 67 percent increase.
“If a state government applies the same 67 percent increase across board, there will be serious trouble. The same with the federal government and when there is that trouble, there will be trade dispute because the Principle of Ability to Pay will come in and the International Labour Organisation encourages us to apply that principle in our discussion.
“If I am unable to pay and my workers know that I am unable to pay, we will sit down and agree on what I am able to pay. So, there is a baseline now as no worker in Nigeria should earn anything less than N30,000 provided that the establishment has more than 25 workers.”