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Minimum Wage: Why state governments should be open, transparent- NECA

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has called on state governments to be transparent and open in their discussions with labour unions on the consequential adjustments of the new minimum wage.

Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, who made the appeal in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos, however, advised that time was of essence.

NECA is the umbrella body for employers in the organised private sector of Nigeria.

“The economy of the state is not hidden; the government should come to the table with facts and figures to convince the workers on the understanding it wants them to show.

“The state governments should do a lot willfully to ensure that they cut cost of governance so that they do not hide under the fact of insufficient revenue to say that they cannot implement the new minimum wage.

“We believe it is implementable; if they are prudent enough and sincere with the citizens in managing their affairs well by cutting frivolous expenditures, definitely they will be able to conveniently implement it.

“The welfare of all citizens, not only the workers, should be their primary responsibility.”

The director-general said that majority of the organised businesses in the formal private sector were paying workers way above N30,000.

According to him, this accounts for the peace in the private sector because there is no need for further negotiations.

“Beyond that, you discover that negotiation is even ongoing because every two to three years, we negotiate with our unions to ensure that we review salaries and conditions of service.

“So, we do not have to wait for the national minimum wage before we review.

“Even when those paying way above, once their existing conditions of service or collective agreement is expired, they renew automatically through social dialogue, ” he said.

Olawale, however, said that over 70 per cent of the private sector economy was informal, but the advice had always been that every worker deserved a living wage.

He urged employers in the informal sector to ensure that they paid workers the same wage that was binding on everyone and a law to be obeyed.

“N30,000 has been agreed as the barest minimum that is payable to workers; they should work hard to ensure that they pay the same.

“Also, we have good news that majority of them have accomplished that and many more are expected to fall in line with that, ” the Director-General said.