New minimum wage: NECA seeks implementation by January 1

Following the perceived silence on the proposed N30,000 new minimum wage, the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on it in order to commence its implementation by January 1, 2019, at the latest.

Briefing the media yesterday in Lagos, the President of the association, Dr. Mohammed Yinusa, said since the process of arriving at a the New National Minimum Wage had culminated in the submission of the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee to the President, “we urge the Federal Government to expedite action in the process of transmitting a Bill to the National Assembly within the shortest possible time to avoid yet another avoidable threat to our industrial harmony.

“This will enable the Legislators do their part so that implementation can commence from January 1, 2019, at the latest.”

Yinusa, who spoke on the general performance of the economy, said NECA shared its perspectives and advised government on what should be done and it was glad that those recommendations as regards steps and ways to avert the threatened strike action were taken.

According to Yinusa, “we had informed government that there is no clime in the world where the outcome of the national minimum wage would be gladly and widely accepted by all stakeholders in the economy. Though minimum as it is supposed to be, it is not uncommon to hear outcry of inability to pay from one quarter or the other.

“While the claim of inability to pay could in fact be real, the expectation, however, is for each and every employer in the economy, including the government, to focus inward on its business or system and effect the necessary wholesale restructuring and financial re-engineering that will enable it comply with the laws of the land.

“If the issue of ability to pay, as important as it is, is to be the sole determinant of the national minimum wage, we may as well do away completely with the notion and practice of setting a national minimum wage. We believe the issue of ability to pay may not be as worrisome as often presented if there is efficiency, effectiveness and prudence in the administration of the governance structure.

“We believe that the N30, 000 recommended is a fair wage that could lift workers purchasing power, increase total demand and ultimately stimulate economic activities. While we note the need for the implementation of the recommended N30, 000, our national conversation should now be focused on how to broaden the nation’s revenue base, ensure the viability of the states of the federation, curb or eliminate wastages and rent seeking in all spheres of national life and increase our national aggregate output which has consistently been hampered by inadequacy in our existing infrastructures and structures.”

He also observed that the current political structure in Nigeria could be likened to the existence of one large national distribution centre (NDC) with only one major supply point and seemingly endless collection outlets that are either not enhancing inflow into the NDC or making negligible input.

“This model is certainly not sustainable. We need to loosen the current political structure to allow emergence of several production centres in all nooks and cranny of the country to serve as feeder posts to the NDC. States that cannot sustain themselves should be encouraged to merge and emerge as a healthy productive centre rather than the existing over-reliance on the centre.

“There is the need to go back to the fundamentals of our economy where such big issues like diversification of the economy, backward and forward integration, policy coherence, policy consistency and cross-sectoral local content policy will be given their pride of place and execution impetus.

“All the aforementioned policy options   should be underpinned by a sincere constitutional amendment that will enthrone true federalism and resource control. We should aim for a political structure where federating units will contribute to the centre, thereby assuming the status of multiple centres of productive economic activities and development, as it was in pre-1966 military coup,” he noted.

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