According to the two labour organisations in the country – the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress – there is a constitutional provision for the review of the minimum wage every five years.
The unions recently made a proposal of N56,000 Minimum Wage to the Federal Government, based on the argument that the constitution provided for a review every five years.
However, the Federal Government has said there’s no existing agreement with organised labour for a review of the National Minimum Wage.
Executive Chairman, National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Dr. Richard Egbule, said the five-year period for the review of the national minimum wage recommended by a committee but it was not included in the commission’s Act.
While speaking on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, Egbule said: “The first time it (review of minimum wage) was done was in 1980. It was again done in 1990. It was again done in 2000 and lastly 2011. Of course, it was ready by 2010. So in between, there has been a period of 10 years for the review of the past ones although recently, in the last one, there were quite a number of recommendations.”
“One of them was the issue that instead of a 10-year arrangement, it should be every five years, but that recommendation was not taken up and enacted into law. The only thing that was done was the issue of picking the figures and changing them. There are quite a number of very important recommendations in that report that were not taken.”
“Even as I speak, the issue of reviewing it every 10 years was rather coincidental. There is no such law anywhere that guarantees that it should be done every 10 years. What the last recommendation did was to say that it was too long. The 10-year interval was too long; so, there was a recommendation that it should be five years, but the recommendation, which affected so many other things, was never enacted into law.”
“So if anybody says, like labour is saying, that it is in the law, every five years, they have to do it, it is not correct. Probably, they are confusing this with a provision for a review of the pension every five years, whenever there is a review of salaries of workers. This is a separate issue; it is not about minimum wage.”