Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Thursday, said that the demand of Labour over the implementation of the new minimum wage would cost the Federal Government N580 billion annually.
“Government cannot afford that kind of money now, besides the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is more interested in the lowest cadre of workers which are those on grade level 1 step 1 and level 6 step 1, these are the ones who the N30,000 will have greater impact on.
“Government has done their own homework and brought out what they can use to defend this consequential adjustment. Grade 1 to 6 does not have any problem, but 7 to 14 band and 15 to 17 band this is where we have the problem.
“Once you finish a minimum wage and go into consequential adjustment you are trying to reach a collective bargaining agreement and once you are trying to reach and once you are the principle of ability to pay comes in.
“So if you push government to go and accede to an increment which its resources cannot accommodate, you are indirectly asking them to retrench workers so that the few that are remaining will get this big big money.
“We don’t want that, from 2015 the president has made it clear that he is not out to inflict pains on Nigerians and that he does not want to create unemployment but even at that our increase in population is galloping and our resources is not consequentialy increasing to meet up that is why we have a lot of unemployed youths on the street today.
“We need to arrive at an agreement as soon as possible so that we can use the 2019 budget allocation to deframe this consequential adjustment because it will be bad if we are unable to do it and we finish this financial year by December because the budget circle is going to return to January/December 2020 so we we have three months only before this recurrent funds as well are swept back into government treasury, that is the law.”