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Ngige raises alarm as states claim they are not ready to pay new minimum wage.

The Nigerian Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has disclosed that the new national minimum wage of N30,000 has become effective since April 18, stressing that state governments and employers yet to commence payment by the end of May should consider themselves already in deficit. arrears  

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New minimum wage started in April, Governors must pay arrears - Ngige

The Nigerian Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has disclosed that the new national minimum wage of N30,000 has become effective since April 18, stressing that state governments and employers yet to commence payment by the end of May 2019 should consider themselves already in deficit and must pay all arrears.

The Minister reportedly disclosed this to journalists in Abuja, further noting that arriving at the new minimum wage was a tortuous and excruciating journey, and stating the only thing delay full implementation is budget approval.

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“Every state government is now owing their workers if they have not started paying N30,000. They are owing workers effective from 18th of April, the new minimum wage.”

Implementation not negotiable – There have been speculations of uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage. Analysts have stressed that going by the antecedents of several states and the obvious low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), it is unlikely for full implementation of the minimum wage.

However, Ngige cleared the air and addressed claims of agitations of state governors not ready to pay the new wage, the minister stressed that the National minimum wage law is now a national law and no governor can say he would not pay.

“The Issue of the national minimum wage is item 34 on the exclusive legislative list of the third schedule of the Nigerian constitution. 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.”

Also, Ngige stated that the consequential effects of how the wage adjustment will affect other cadres of the workforce are already being discussed as a committee is already set up to design a new salary template.

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“We are now in a committee working out a new template with which we will adjust upward the consequential adjustment for those already earning above N30,000. The minimum wage is for the most vulnerable down the ladder and that is the man on grade level.”

Implementation bottleneck – The minister further emphasized that some employers in the private sector adjusted immediately to the new minimum wage due to the ease of adjustment. However, Ngige further noted that in the government sector, the bureaucracy and bottleneck of government are responsible for the delay.

“You know that you must budget for it. That is what is causing the delay. But whenever the encumbrances are removed, they will pay arrears with effect from 18th April 2019. So, the sooner an establishment starts paying, the better for you so that you don’t take a huge backlog that you cannot take.”

Warning to Governors – Ngige stressed that state governments should be careful not to make the same mistake they made after the N18,000 minimum wage was passed.

“In 2011, there was a mistake in the consequential adjustment in some states when they applied the principle of percentage increase across the board and they ran into trouble and were unable to pay.”

Meanwhile, the minister noted that the new N30,000 translates into is a 67% increase. Hence, if a state government apply the same 67% increase across the board, there will be serious trouble which will result in trade disputes across states.

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Economy & Politics

Fayemi set to activate digital economy with N5billion broadband infrastructure

Governor Fayemi plans to activate Ekiti state’s digital economy, this would help generate healthy competition within the ICT sector

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Fayemi set to activate digital economy with N5billion broadband infrastructure in Ekiti state

Ekiti state government has concluded plans to create a digital hub, with the laying of a 606-kilometer broadband infrastructure.

The project is expected to lift the state from 16% internet penetration to 90% and is estimated to be worth N5 billion, with the Federal Government contributing N1.1 billion of the total sum.

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This plan is part of the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the state Governor signed with O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, a consortium that develops high speed and efficient Fibre Optic Cable (FOC) Open Access Network (OAN) across the South-West region of Nigeria.

According to the Managing Director of O’odua Infraco Resources Limited, Mr Sammy Adigun, the project will be officially flagged off in October and completed within 14 months.

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(READ MORE: What Nigeria stands to gain from new National Broadband Plan)

This decision is a follow-up to the recent crash of Right of Way charges from N4,500 to N145 per meter for broadband infrastructure, and in line with one of the five pillars of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s development plan for Ekiti state.

The Governor noted that these decisions would help generate healthy competition within the ICT sector, thus activating Ekiti state’s digital economy and digital education.

Fayemi noted that the project execution, as well as the broadband policy in the state would be coordinated and supervised by a Digital Infrastructural Committee, made up of various relevant government institutions critical to the implementation of the project.

“For us the roadmap is first the fibre connectivity itself, the second is the adequate data center infrastructure, the third is the e-learning programme which will cover our educational institutions, then our safe city, our security programme will also be included.

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“With our geographical land information system (GIS), we would digitalize all our land records, and of course, commercial investment as well as digitalisation of our government assets and our health education initiative,” Fayemi explained.

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Economy & Politics

NCC reacts to claims that minister chased Diaspora Commission’s staff from office complex

The NCC denies claims of the video on social media, pointing out that the staffs of NIDCOM were not sent packing from the digital economy complex

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NCC orders immediate suspension of USSD charges by telcos, 5G Network to undergo 3 months trial before approval - NCC , NCC licenses 20 new Internet service providers amidst challenges , 150 million Nigerians risk being defrauded – NCC , NCC warns telcos against cyber fraudsters , NCC rolls out new regulations on drone use, NCC licenses 10 new VAS providers as it projects market to hit $500 million , NCC, Infracos set to develop broadband infrastructure with N265 billion raise , Telecommunications: Broadband penetration set to grow, Telecoms operators fined N2.9 billion over infractions , NCC reacts to claims that minister chased away diaspora commission staff from office complex

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reacted to claims by the Chief Executive of Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, that her staff members were chased out of its premises by armed men on the orders of the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

The NCC, through a press statement on May 24, 2020 signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, has said that nothing of such happened as it denied claims in a video making rounds on social media that the staff of NIDCOM were sent packing from the digital economy complex.

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According to the press statement from NCC:

Following the completion of the NCC building at Mbora, Abuja designated as NCC Annex and the acute shortage of accommodation space for the staff of the commission in the NCC head office at Maitama, Abuja, the Board of the commission directed the decongestion of the Head office building. Some of the departments of the NCC had started moving to the new office complex of 5 floors when discussions were held between the NCC and the Diaspora Commission to enable the Diaspora Commission also utilize any free offices within the complex.

“The fifth floor allocated to them had to be used to accommodate other departments from the NCC headquarters to ease the congestion. NCC’s offer to house the Nigeria Diaspora Commission was predicated on the long held position of the NCC that agencies of government will achieve more through strategic collaboration, partnership, synergy and sharing to the extent allowed by relevant laws.”

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(READ MORE: PenCom dissolves interim management committee for First Guarantee Pension, appoints new board)

NCC disclosed that it had secured approval for the commissioning of the office complex by President Buhari, and also the launching of 4 important projects of NCC, together with the renamed Ministry of Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

It also stated that the offer to NIDCOM had not been withdrawn, but had only hit a bump arising from the preparation for the visit of President Buhari to launch the projects and inaugurate the complex. It said that the Board and Management of NCC took a decision to ensure that every activity in the building was in line with the Federal Government’s agenda.

Going further, the statement reads:

“Incidentally, after the offer of the office spaces to the Diaspora Commission, the Director General, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa had not visited the complex to take possession of any of the offices and also the commission had not started using any of these spaces as offices.

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‘’As is usual in ensuring security and accountability before, during and after presidential visits, the building had to be cleared to allow for only known and identifiable persons to have access within the complex. Therefore, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami could not have sent armed men to drive the staff of the Diaspora Commission out of the Communication Economy Complex.”

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The statement also pointed out that as at that time, only NCC staff were accredited to have access within the premises and that all properties belonging to NIDCOM were safely warehoused in some of the offices within the complex.

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Coronavirus

Sanwo-Olu gives incentives to businesses to prevent job loss

Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that the state is Nigeria’s number one commercial centre and a massive job loss will not bode well for it’s economy

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Bond: Lagos to rAN100 billion for infrastructural development, COVID-19: Lagos asks civil servants to stay at home, No public buses between 7pm and 6am, Okada ban takes effect from May 4 – LASG, No public buses between 7pm and 6am, Okada ban takes effect from May 4 – LASG, Sanwo-Olu gives incentives to businesses to prevent job loss

Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised that any business that employs a large number of people will receive incentives from the state government in order to prevent massive job loss in the state.

He noted that Lagos state is Nigeria’s number one commercial center and heavy job losses will not bode well for the economy of the state, and the country.

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“We are having conversations with different sectors on the requirements they need to ensure they do not retrench their staff. What many of the companies want will affect the State’s IGR but we are willing to make the sacrifice to prevent the loss of livelihood of our citizens,” the governor stated.

The phased reopening of the economy

The governor explained in his tweet that all businesses were still required to follow the Register-to-open initiative, and put all facilities in place before they would be allowed to reopen.

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(READ MORE: COVID-19: Best and worst case scenarios for the Nigerian economy)

According to him, the state will consider companies in the construction and manufacturing sector as top priority in the first stage of the reopening, while businesses in the entertainment and hospitality sector will be considered for reopening in the second phase, as the state tries to balance economic reactivation with COVID-19 management.

“We are caught between managing hunger & sustaining an economy that is not only dependent on commercial activities in Lagos alone but also in other states.  

“We are at the stage where we have to balance public health safety & the economy that affects the wellbeing of the people” Sanwo-Olu stated. 

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He urged Lagosians to support the government in breaking the cycle of transmission, by adhering to the guidelines from the authorities.

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