Abuja – The Federal Government has cautioned the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on its December 31 ultimatum issued over the lingering disagreement between organised labour and state governments on the proposed N30, 000 national minimum wage.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture made the appeal on Friday in Abuja, the federal capital.
The minister spoke to State House correspondents after yesterday’s Juma’at prayer session and a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
The organised labour had on Thursday given the ultimatum following Buhari’s statement on Wednesday when he presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill of N8.83trillion at the joint session of the National Assembly that a “high-powered technical committee” would be set up to device ways to ensure that implementation of the new minimum wage would not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.
However, the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who addressed newsmen on Thursday, expressed organised labour’s reservation over the President’s position, saying that setting up a technical committee could not be a condition for passing the minimum wage report to the National Assembly, saying: “We reject in its entirety, the plan to set up another ‘high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics.”
But Mohammed, who described the NLC as “a very patriotic union,” said he was confident the organised labour would not do anything to embarrass the government or Nigerians. He said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is a very patriotic union and I am very confident that they will not do anything that will embarrass the government or do anything that is going to worsen the situation.
“Continuous engagement, I think, is the key. We will continue to engage them and I think they do also fully understand what the challenges are, and both parties are determined to ensure that a common ground is arrived at which will be comfortable for all.”
The minister, who briefed the President on the activities of his ministry, said he made a portrait of Buhari in five major Nigerian attires- Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Efik and one in suit, adding: “It is reminiscent of the portrait we use during this campaign.