Thursday, April 18, 2024

Minimum Wage: TUC Advice Against Defaulting States

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has asked the Federal Government to pay the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations of defaulting states to workers.

TUC President, Festus Osifo stated this in an interview on Channels Television.

Osifo said the union is designing a clause in the framing of a new minimum wage that will sanction state governments who fail to pay the revised minimum wage when approved.

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He said, “We are designing a system as part of this new minimum wage negotiation on sanctioning. That when a new minimum wage is passed; “…there must be sanctions to governors that are not being responsive, maybe their FAAC allocations, maybe the Federal Government can pay some monies directly to the workers instead of giving it to the states.”

Osifo said the current minimum wage of N30,000 can no longer cater for the wellbeing of an average Nigerian worker.

He lamented that not all governors are paying the current wage award which will expire by April, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Osifo said inflation has affected the cost of living for an average Nigerian worker, noting that state governors can afford to pay every public servant N447,000 because they now get more monthly FAAC revenue allocation by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

The TUC boss said, “This is a demand that we have put forward. Look at the states, as at April (2023), what was shared as Federal Allocation was somewhere around N400bn but as at last month (February), what was shared was close to N2trn.”

But, according to FAAC, the three tiers of government shared N1.15 trillion last month and not N2trn.

Osifo said, “So, what that means is that the portion of money that is accruable to states has grown up astronomically. And the majority of that money is attributable to the exchange rate.

“If the money that is accruable to states from the Federal Account is about four or five times today, most of the state governors should be able to do much more.

“What we are asking is that these state governors must be responsive. Beyond the money they share in Abuja, Nigeria is a blessed country, these governors must be up and doing, they must put on their thinking caps.”

Recall that the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 is to be reviewed every five years to meet up with contemporary economic demands of workers.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the TUC have at various times called on the administration of President Bola Tinubu to hasten the upward review of wage awards.

Earlier in January, the Federal Government inaugurated a 37-man Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage with a mandate to recommend a new National Minimum Wage for the country.

While the TUC demanded N447,000 as the new monthly minimum wage per worker, the NLC requested N794,000 per worker.

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