The Federal government has denied reports that it has approved the N30,000 minimum wage agreed by the organised labour, saying the figure is still only a recommendation.
This was the position of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while speaking to the State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari would still study the report presented to him on Tuesday by the chairman of the tripartite committee, Amal Pepple before any final decision is taken.
Pepple had while presenting the report on Tuesday disclosed that the committee recommended that the national minimum wage be increased from N18,000 monthly to N30,000.
She also said her committee drafted a bill that the Federal Government would send to the National Assembly to effect the change.
A section of the media had reported that Buhari accepted the report and endorsed the recommendation of N30,000 as the new minimum wage.
While receiving the report from Pepple, Buhari had said:
“The committee chairman highlighted some of the challenges encountered during your deliberations, especially as it relates to having a consensus position acceptable by all parties.
“I understand, on the government side, the concerns raised were around affordability – that today many states struggle to meet their existing salary requirements. On the side of labour, the points raised focused on the need for any increase to be meaningful.
“In a way, both arguments are valid. I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas.”
He added, “Our plan is to transmit the Executive Bill to the National Assembly for passage within the shortest possible time.
“I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future.”
Lai Mohammed, however, said the President would only take a decision and make his view known after considering the report.
“I think it (N30,000) was a recommendation. Mr President will consider it and will make his views known in due course,” the minister said.
When pressed further, Mohammed said, “I said a recommendation was submitted. Mr President will get back to the committee after he has studied the recommendation.”
On whether the revenue-sharing formula would be reviewed if the new minimum wage was approved to enable the states to pay, the minister said, “Once again, like I said, a recommendation has been made and in responding to the recommendation, all these views will be taken into consideration.”
The committee’s report will still be presented before the National Economic Council and the Council of State before a decision will be made.
Once a decision is taken, the Federal Government will send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, Organised Labour has threatened to go on strike if the Federal Government fails to approve and implement the N30,000 minimum wage recommended by the tripartite committee.
The General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Musa Lawal, said this while reacting to comments by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that the report of the tripartite committee was a mere recommendation.