President Muhammadu Buhari will not decide the new figure of national minimum wage until the National Assembly approves an amount, the Presidency said Thursday, denying the president had endorsed the N30,000 recommended by a tripartite committee.
The organised labour suspended a planned nationwide strike on Tuesday after the Amma Pepple-led committee agreed to its demand for N30,000.
While receiving the report, President Buhari said another committee will review the recommendation before a final figure is sent as an executive bill to the National Assembly.
Reports have since suggested the recommended N30,000 had been endorsed by the government.
But a statement Thursday by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the reports were "contrary to what transpired". It said the president would not "be caught in this unnecessary web of controversy" until "the proposed minimum wage has gone through the whole gamut of law-making".
The statement suggests the federal government would take some time to announce a new minimum wage figure.
A review committee is expected to take days, if not weeks, to make a recommendation, and the lawmaking process may take months.
Read the presidency's full statement below:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
UNNECESSARY CONTROVERSY OVER PRESIDENT BUHARI'S POSITION ON PROPOSED N30,000 MINIMUM WAGE - PRESIDENCY
The Presidency is concerned over recurring reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari has reneged on earlier acceptance of the N30,000 recommended as the new National Minimum Wage by the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee.
These reports are contrary to what transpired on Tuesday when the committee presented its Report to the President. Responding, President Buhari, while acknowledging the concerns raised by government on affordability and labour's focus on meaningful increase, stated clearly in a speech, which was made available to the media:
"In a way, both arguments are valid. I want to assure you all that we will immediately put in place the necessary machinery that will close out these open areas.
"Our plan is to transmit an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for passage within the shortest possible time. I am fully committed to having a new National Minimum Wage Act in the very near future.
"As the Executive Arm commences its review of your submission, we will continue to engage you all in closing any open areas presented in this report. I, therefore, would like to ask for your patience and understanding in the coming weeks."
From the above, and throughout the report-submission ceremony, the President never mentioned any figure. What he committed himself to was a new minimum wage, and only after the Report of the committee has been reviewed by the executive and legislative processes of government and an appropriate bill presented to him for assent.
Until the proposed minimum wage has gone through the whole gamut of law-making, President Buhari, who is a stickler for due process, will not be caught in this unnecessary web of controversy, which amounts to putting the cart before the horse and hair-splitting.
As for those who have latched onto the concocted controversy to play cheap politics, we appeal to them to remember that elections are not won through loquaciousness, and trying to demean the President at every drop of a hat. But then, it is not surprising, as they have nothing else to sell to Nigerians, if they don't ride on the name of the President. Stiff judgment awaits them at the polls.
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
November 8, 2018