Nigeria: Salary Increase – We’ll Make Pronouncements in New Year – Ngige

The rising price of consumer goods and a record high inflation prompted Nigerian workers to demand better pay.

Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the government will by 2023 make pronouncements on salary increase for Nigerian workers.

The rising price of consumer goods and a record high inflation prompted Nigerian workers to demand better pay this year, with university workers embarking on industrial action for eight months.

Inflation, in the country with 133 million multidimensionally poor people, has risen for 10 consecutive months and is currently at a record 21.47 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

But the minister said the government is already looking into the demands of the workers and “hopefully, within available resources, the government can do something within the coming year.”

Mr Ngige spoke to state house correspondents when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari to review existing industrial disputes, the condition of workers and rising unemployment in the country.

“First and foremost, we looked at the employment situation in the country, what we have achieved and what we have not achieved,” he said, adding that “Employment is high and various policies were at variance and I have to tell him the successful ones we have.”

He said the government was also looking at the industrial dispute with the university workers.

He added that other unresolved industrial disputes include disputes with the association of medical doctors, resident doctors and other health workers under the Joint Health Sector Union Workers (JOHESU).

Mr Ngige said the government could not immediately attend to the wage increase demands of the workers due to a cash crunch and revenue shortage.

He said: “In the private sector, the private sector employers have managed their affairs better, maybe, because their finances and its management is within their very audit and they could control it, they could do collecting bargaining very easily with their workers. In the banking sector, Food, beverages and finance insurance are everywhere. So there is calm there. We didn’t have the desired calmness on the government’s side because of the government’s finances.”

Wage Review

Mr Ngige, however, said the review is being carried out by the Presidential Committee on Salaries co-chaired by the finance ministry and co-chaired by him.

He said the committee is working with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission.

When asked about implementation, the minister noted that the government will make a pronouncement in the new year (2023).

He said: “The Presidential Committee on Salaries is working hand-in-hand with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission. The commission is mandated by the Act establishing them to fix salaries, wages, and emoluments in not only the public service.

“They have the matrix to do the evaluation, they are working with the Presidential Committee on Salaries Chaired by the finance ministry and I’m the co-chair to look at the demand of the workers. Outside this, I said discussions on that evaluation are going.”

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on 1-covered issues around the globe


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