Over a year after the N30,000 new minimum wage took effect in Nigeria, no fewer than 11 states are yet to begin implementation, while three states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, are implementing partially.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the N30,000 new National Minimum Wage Act into law, effective April 18, 2019, thus repealing the Minimum Wage Act of 2011.
While the Federal Government started implementing the new wage after negotiating and agreeing on the consequential adjustment with organized labor in October, labor had issued a December 31, 2019 deadline to states to end all discussions and agreements for implementation or face nationwide industrial unrest.
Fifteen months after the new minimum wage became law, Vanguard investigations revealed that the states that are yet to commence implementation are Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Kogi, Plateau, Imo, Nasarawa, Osun and Taraba.
Besides FCT, other states that are implementing partially are Bauchi, Oyo, Yobe and Kebbi.
Investigation revealed that negotiation on the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment was concluded in Adamawa State before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but implantation is yet to begin.
Also, in Anambra State, negotiation, according to checks, was concluded and signed on January 24, 2020, but the government is yet to commence implementation of the new wage assigned with organized labor.
According to Vanguard’s finding, the minimum wage committee in Akwa Ibom State has concluded its assignment and agreed to adopt the percentages used by the Federal Government’s consequential adjustment in December with a clause to discuss other grey areas within a month. This has not been done.
For Ekiti State, it was gathered that implementation for the new minimum wage for levels 1 to 6 was considered since October 2019, but to date, nothing has happened.
Similarly, while Kogi State is yet to implement the new minimum wage, it has slashed salaries of its workers, blaming dwindling allocations from the Federal Government to states.
In Imo State, Vanguard gathered that the change of government, following the Supreme Court judgment that brought the current governor, Hope Uzodinma, affected the negotiation between government and labor.
Findings revealed that the new government has constituted another committee, while labor has submitted its proposal, but negotiation has not been concluded.
In Nasarawa State, it was learned that the issue appeared not to be on the table for now as labor leaders in the state are insisting that the government clears all pending promotion, leave and other arrears and benefits before the issue of new minimum wage could be discussed.
For Osun State, while negotiation on the new minimum wage is yet to be concluded, the workers are being paid net of old salary.
Equally, in Plateau State, the government partially signed an agreement with labor for the implementation of minimum wage before the outbreak of COVID-19 but has suspended implementation.
The state government and organized labor were in negotiation before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the issue matter had since been stalled.
The FCT is implementing the minimum wage for its entire civil service but not implementing the same for local government, including local education authorities.
For Bauchi, the state is implementing the new wage for levels 1 to 6 but it was gathered that negotiation for the implementation of the wage for levels 7 and above had been suspended.
In the same vein, while the government of Kebbi State has been implementing the new wage for levels 1 to 16, excluding the council workers, it added N7,000 to the salary of senior civil servants without recourse to labor and has refused to negotiate on the consequential adjustment for levels 7 and above.
Similarly, Oyo State is implementing the new minimum wage for its core civil servants, but yet to commence implementation for non-core civil servants, especially workers of ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs.
Also, Yobe State is implementing for workers between levels 1 and 6, and has equally awarded N7000 unilaterally to workers on levels 7 to 14 without recourse to labor.
It was gathered that negotiation is still ongoing to address other grey areas of the implementation of the new minimum wage.
Senior civil servants kick
Responding to the development, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, said the present development was not acceptable, vowing to declare its position soon.
Speaking to Vanguard, Secretary-General of ASCSN, Alade Bashir Lawal, said: “We are liaising with our state organs in the states of the federation to fully internalize the state of affairs of each state, knowing full well that each state has its peculiarities.”
NLC leaders meet today
Meanwhile, leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, are meeting today to address the issue of implementation of the new minimum wage and other sundry workers’ welfare issues, with a view to responding appropriately.