Minimum wage: Carry private sector along, NCPC boss tells FG, Labour

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage Commission (NCPC), Bishop Stephen Adegbite, PhD, GPJ, has advised the federal government and the organised labour to consider the private sector players in the course of agreeing on a new national minimum wage as “it is the largest bloc of employers in the country.”

Addressing journalists on Friday in Abuja, Adegbite said any minimum wage that could not be affordable to the private sector will lead to retrenchment and job losses “as the Organized Private Sector had earlier, in the minimum wage negotiation, made an offer of N57,000 which it said is what it could offer when it considered other variables.”

He said: “As you all know, we are in the middle of a minimum wage crisis

which few days ago, virtually grounded socio-economic activities across the country to a halt until good reason prevailed and a one-week suspension was worked out.

“I commend the Organised Labour for heeding the call by well-meaning Nigerians to suspend the nationwide strike and also appreciate the Federal government for shifting ground from its earlier stance of N60,000 new national minimum wage.

“Now, as all the parties begin a fresh round of negotiations with N60,000 as ground zero, I have some advice for the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as government negotiators.

“As much as the federal government has ruled out Labour’s previous demand of N494,000 minimum wage and committed itself to going over N60,000, all the parties should spare a thought for private sector players who are the largest bloc of employers in the country.

“The organised private sector had earlier in the minimum wage negotiation made an offer of N57,000 which it said is what it could offer when it considered other variables. We do not want a situation where some of these people will have to downsize or retrench workers en mass in order to pay salaries that are above their limit.

“As for the states, one of the national newspapers recently reported that over 15 states have been unable to pay the old N30,000 minimum wage which elapsed a few weeks ago. We wonder if Organized Labour was aware of this all these years. And if so, what did they do about it?