One thing that will make the labour unions and Nigerian workers happy is the knowledge of the exact time that the implementation of a new minimum wage would begin and the actual figure it would be.  

That is one area that was part of President Muhammadu Buhari's remark after he received the report of the Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage on Tuesday. 

It was a special ceremony held at the council chamber, with a photograph time following it. 

After Ms Amaopuoruba Pepple, the head of the Committee, handed the report to President Buhari, he commended the committee which was inaugurated on 27 November 2017 for their effort in reaching an agreement with labour on what the new National Minimum Wage would be.

Muhammadu Buhari receives report on new minimum wa
Ms Amaopuoruba Pepple hands over the report to President Muhammadu Buhari

In his speech, President Buhari said: "This exercise became necessary for many reasons.

"The last review took place in 2011. We all know since then, the prices of key consumables have increased and the most vulnerable of our workers are struggling to make ends meet.

"Since 2011, many changes have taken place. Nigeria rebased its GDP to become the largest economy in Africa. We reported very strong GDP growth rates and exceptional performance of our capital markets. However, these reported successes did not flow into the pockets and homes of majority of Nigerians.

"In the last three years, we focused on correcting this deficiency. We are working to create a diversified and inclusive economy.

"We are pushing to clear pension arrears owed to our retired workers with the limited resources available to us.

"We supported State Governments to pay workers salary. And of course, we set up a committee in order to review the minimum wage of workers.

"In constituting this committee, we took into account the need for all stakeholders to be adequately represented - the government, the private sector and most importantly the workers. Our goal was to get an outcome that was consensual".

Muhammadu Buhari receives report on new minimum wa
President Muhammadu Buhari in handshake with Ms Pepple before photographs were taken

President Buhari told the gathering that he had followed the meetings and the deliberations on the new minimum wage and that he was pleased that the committee had completed its work in a peaceful non-confrontational manner.

"The Committee Chairman highlighted some of the challenges encountered during your deliberations, especially as it relates to having a consensus position acceptable by all parties.

"I understand, on the government side, the concerns raised were around affordability - that today many states struggle to meet their existing salary requirements.

"On the side of labour, the points raised focused on the need for any increase to be meaningful.

"In a way, both arguments are valid," the President highlighted.

'Don't Be Used As Political Weapons'

He then talked about the timeframe that putting together an Executive Bill that would be forwarded to the National Assembly would take.

"I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas. Our plan is to transmit the Executive Bill to the National Assembly for passage within the shortest possible time.

Muhammadu Buhari receives report on new minimum wa

"I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future.

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"Let me use this opportunity to recognise the leadership of the organised labour and private sector as well as representatives of State and Federal Governments for all your hard work.

"The fact that we are here today, is a notable achievement.

"As the Executive Arm commences its review of your submission, we will continue to engage you all in closing any open areas presented in this report. I therefore would like to ask for your patience and understanding in the coming weeks.

"May I therefore, employ workers and their leaders not to allow themselves to be used as political weapons," President Buhari added.

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