The Federal Government on Thursday said implementation of the National Minimum Wage was critical to national development.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said this at a Public Enlightenment and Sensitisation Workshop for field officers monitoring implementation of National Minimum Wage in Abuja.
The event was organised by the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission, NSIWC.
Mr Ngige said ensuring compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act would ensure that workers were not short-changed.
He also said that “a satisfied worker would contribute effectively and efficiently to the sustainability and growth of an enterprise.
“This will in turn contribute to national development and less disruptions in productivity, ocassioned by industrial actions.
“There is an urgent need therefore, to ensure a minimum living wage to all employed and in need of such protection and attain a just and equitable share of the fruits of progress.”
The minister said the formal and informal sectors were represented during the collective bargaining mechanisms that produced the Act.
He said with that, no establishment could claim ignorance or non-involvement in reaching the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on the minimum wage.
Mr Ngige further said all establishments were bound by the act.
On the workshop, the minister said training was critical to implementing the mandate of the ministry and the NSIWC.
He said Section 12 of the Act, titled “Monitoring and Compliance”, indicated that the ministry would collaborate with NSIWC to monitor implementation of the national minimum wage.
According to him, it is also their responsibility to keep social partners informed of the process, to address any identified non-compliance with provisions of the act.
“The workshop is meant to enlighten and sensitise the stakeholders who are statutorily assigned the duty of monitoring and ensuring compliance.
“I hope you will be drilled thoroughly in the art of interaction with capital and labour and the inherent dialectics between the factors of production to protect rights at work.
“I also hope that at the end of the workshop, you will be knowledgeable of the act and adequately arm yourselves in execution of your monitoring and enforcement duties,” he said.
The NSIWC Chairman, Ekpo Nta, said the commission was determined to implement its mandate to the letter, particularly in the area of salaries and wages
The Chairman, who was represented by the NSIWC Commissioner, Dr Mojisola Kolade, said the commission would go all out to address the problem of wage theft.
According to him, the commission will ensure that people are not short-changed when it comes to salaries and wages.
Mr Nta said “we want the money to be given to the right persons”.
On why implementation and monitoring was coming about three years after the national minimum wage act was signed into law, Mr Nta said the commission was constrained by funds.
He said although the commission was still battling with funding, it had to embark on the exercise, which would commence in the first quarter of 2023 because of its determination for efficiency.
On productivity, the chairman said “for Nigeria to be successful, working has to be productive”.
Mr Nta said it was important for agencies that would be monitored in the exercise to cooperate with the commission.
He said “compensation business is a serious business.
“So, we urge agencies to open up their books and tell us the truth.
“Even with infractions we will sit and talk”.
The workshop was attended by representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Budget Office and others.
The stakeholders in their goodwill messages, commended the move by the Federal Government to monitor implementation of the wage.
They expressed concern that some states of the federation were not complying with it, leading to hardship and less productivity.
While saying that the move was late in view of the fact the N30,000 minimum wage came into effect since 2019, the stakeholders, however, said “it is better late than never”.