New Minimum Wage Cost Implications: Tinubu Meets Edun, Bagudu at Villa

June 6, 2024

President Bola Tinubu has met the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and his Budget and Economic Planning colleague, Senator Atiku Bagudu, at the State House, presumably over the on-going minimum wage talks.

President Tinubu instructed the Minister of Finance, Edun, on Tuesday, June 6, to work up agreeable figures that would be realistic and acceptable to all the Tripartite Committee on New National Minimum Wage representatives and present a report to him within two days.

The federal government, at a meeting called by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, on Monday, had revealed in a resolution drawn at the end of the meeting that President Tinubu was committed to paying a national minimum wage that was above ₦60,000.

The tripartite committee meeting stalled on Wednesday because the federal government was yet to present a new figure, which ought to be the outcome of Edun’s task, as instructed on Tuesday by the President.

However, emerging from the meeting with President Tinubu on Thursday and responding to journalists’ excitement, Edun simply said: “There is no cause for alarm.”

A reliable source said though it was not certain yet if the minister had presented new figures to Tinubu as cost implications for a new national minimum wage, a meeting held after the visit of the World Bank team suggested it’s most likely that the president might have received the figures.

“It looks like it because they held a separate meeting after the visit of the World Bank team and from all available indications, the next thing on the table that the Finance minister should be discussing with the President should be the submission of the figures as instructed by the President.

“He was clear when he instructed on Tuesday, he said either that day or the next day, which was yesterday, Wednesday. So from what I can deduce, he must have submitted his report. Let’s just wait to hear details later”, the source said.

Recall that Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, had disclosed the President’s ultimatum in an interview with correspondents on Tuesday.

“It’s been quite challenging, but we thank God that we’re at this point. We thank Labour that true to their words last night, they suspended their strike early this morning.

“Government on its side, you can see that the President has just summoned a meeting of all those who negotiated on behalf of the federal government, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“The Minister of Finance was there, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, myself, the Minister of Labour, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

“We were all there to look at those issues and then the President has directed the Minister of Finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today and tomorrow so that we can have some figures ready for negotiation with Labour”, he said.

Idris emphasized that the President was committed to a new minimum wage that was acceptable, sustainable, and realistic for all Nigerians, involving not just the federal government, but also sub-nationals and the organized private sector.

The Tuesday meeting, attended by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) George Akume; Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, according to Idris, was aimed at finding a balance between the government’s pronouncements and the economic realities on the ground.

Recall that the Tripartite Committee meeting could not achieve much on Wednesday as a result of the failure of the federal government team to present new figures to organized labour.

The federal government and the Organized Private Sector had presented N60,000 as the new minimum wage, but it was rejected by organized labour.

It’s expected that the government team will present the new figures at the 2:00 pm meeting today.