The controversy about the payment of the new N30,000 minimum wage for the Nigerian workers on Thursday, October 3, took another twist as the federal government and the organised labour are again set to be on war path.
Media reports that the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, declared that the federal government would have to lay off workers to be able to meet a wage bill of N580 billion needed to meet demand on the new wage.
NativeReporters gathered that Ngige told labour leaders in Abuja that N580 billion was what would be needed by the government to pay the consequential adjustments as demanded by labour.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the minister’s announcement is the latest in the increasing drama over payment of the new wage.
It would be recalled that a bill for the new minimum wage was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18.
Ngige made the revelation when the leadership of the United Labour Congress (ULC), paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
He said the federal government was avoiding a situation where it would have to lay off workers, noting that throwing workers into unemployment would add to their burden.
The minister pleaded with labour to accept the consequential adjustment from levels 7 to 17, adding that the government had only three months left to implement the new wage.
He stated that the government would not promise labour what it could not pay, noting that no worker deserved to be owed salary.