The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed that the federal government would have to lay off workers in order to be able to meet a wage bill of N580 billion needed to meet labour’s demand on the N30,000 new minimum wage.
Mr Ngige stated this while speaking when the leadership of the United Labour Congress (ULC), paid him a courtesy visit in his office on Thursday, October 3, 2019.
Mr Ngige told labour leaders in Abuja that the sum of 580 billion was what would be needed by government to pay the consequential adjustments as demanded by labour.
However, according to him, the federal government is avoiding a situation where it would have to lay off workers, noting that throwing workers into unemployment would add to their burden.
The minister pleaded with labour to accept the consequential adjustment from levels 7 to 17, adding that government had only three months left to implement the new wage.
He stated that government would not promise labour what it could not pay, noting that no worker deserved to be owed salary.
Mr Ngige disclosed that the federal government had so far paid arrears of N500 billion to workers, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
He restated that implementation of the new wage had since commenced for workers on grade level 1 to 6, adding that the development had helped those on the lower cadre in the civil service to move up.