FG committed to implementing agreement with organised labour – Minister

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha and Bola Tinubu (Credit: Nkeiruka Onyejeocha X)

The Federal Government said it has reviewed the commitments made with organised labour in the agreement signed on October 2, 2023.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, on Wednesday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, following the removal of the fuel subsidy.

The organised labour, on Monday, began mobilising its members for nationwide protests slated for February 27 and 28 over the cost of living crisis in the country.

The Federal Government’s failure to fulfil its promises after the 14-day ultimatum by Labour, according to sources, will be met with a two-day nationwide protest.

However, the FG noted that it has paid four out of six months of the wage award of N35,000, adding that the Minimum Wage Committee, which was inaugurated on January 30, 2024 has held two meetings and discussions are ongoing.

Onyejeocha, said, “On the payment of wage award of N35,000 for six months, government has so far paid for four months up to 31st December, 2023. The remaining two months of January and February 2024 are being processed.

“On the Minimum Wage Committee, Government has on 30th January, 2024, inaugurated a 37 member tripartitecCommittee on National Minimum Wage to review and come up with an acceptable and sustainable minimum wage for the Nigerian Workers. The committee has so far held two meetings, and discussions are on-going.

“Government has constantly engaged various state governments and the private sector on the issue of the implementation of wage award for their workers, and this has been receiving favourable compliance by state governments. Government will continue to use all relevant channels to ensure sustainability of the programmes.

“With respect to the suspension of collection of Value Added Tax on diesel for six months beginning from October, 2023, this was effected immediately. It is on record, that no one has been subjected to this form of taxation since October, 2023.”

On the provision of CNG buses and conversion kits, she noted, “Government has so far made substantial financial commitments in this area. These buses will be rolled out very soon to alleviate the transportation challenges being faced by Nigerians.”

She further noted that “on the issue of various tax incentives as contained in the agreement, government has commenced series of engagements with relevant stakeholders while all necessary machineries are being put in place for effective implementation.

“On the leadership crises rocking NURTW and RTEAN, government waded into the matter and the issue has been amicably resolved. The Lagos State Government was mandated to address the matter and as we speak, the Executive Body of the Union has been inaugurated and all contending issues are resolved.”

Concerning the outstanding Salaries and wages of tertiary efucation workers in federal owned rducational institutions, “Government has paid in full the four months outstanding salaries to ASUU as approved by Mr. President. Action is on-going with respect to other Unions as well,” the minister said.

Onyejeocha added that “3,140,819 households, including vulnerable pensioners,” have benefitted from the N25,000 monthly conditional cash transfer amounting to N68.3 billion before the temporary suspension of the programme.

To ascertain the level of rehabilitation of the refineries in the country, the minister noted that “a joint visitation by Government and Organised Labour was successfully carried out today, 21st February, 2024 and it was established that the Port-Harcourt Refinery is 80% completed. Production of Premium Motor Spirit will commence before the end of the year.”

Speaking further, she said, “With respect to the issue of subsidised distribution of fertilisers to farmers across the country, the government has made tremendous progress in this regard to ensure effective distribution to farmers to boost agricultural production.

“In order to encourage micro- and small-scale enterprises, as contained in Mr. President’s broadcast on 1st August, 2023 to the nation, plans have reached an advanced stage to accelerate the process of job creation through the release of funds to micro- and small-scale businesses.”

She stated that the FG was committed to social dialogue with organised labour and other stakeholders towards achieving industrial peace and harmony while prioritising workers’ welfare.