Minimum wage now N17,000 monthly
Effective from this month, the least paid worker in the federal civil service will earn a minimum of N17,000 as monthly salary.
The new wage is 63.7 per cent more than the current minimum wage of N11,000 which came into effect in 2007.
A source in the Joint National Public Service Council, who did not want his name in print, who made this known to our correspondent in Lagos on Thursday, said, “This increase, which is across levels, is the best deal that federal workers have had in a long time.”
He added that on July 5, he received a circular dated July 1 which was signed by the Chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule.
The source declined to make a copy of the circular available, but he explained that the new wage would be implemented “on graduating level.”
This, according to him, means that the percentage increase for junior workers is higher than that of senior civil servants.
Another source in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, who also said he had seen the circular, said civil servants on the highest grade level (Level 17, step 9), would now earn N453,444,67 per month.
He said, “I have seen the circular. It is tabulated for each grade level and step. While the least paid will now be earning more than N17,000, someone on the highest level will be earning N5,441,336 per annum.”
When contacted, the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr. John Odah, and President-General of the Trade Union Congress, Mr. Peter Esele, described the new wage as a welcome development.
Esele, who was the first to speak with our correspondent said, ”It is mutually negotiated and agreed between the employer, which is the Federal Government; and the federal workers. Workers are definitely happy; they have even told us to go ahead and commend the President (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan).”
Esele, however, disclosed that the committee on the minimum wage for all Nigerian workers would be submiting their report to the Secretary to the Govenment of the Federation next Monday.
On his part, Odah, said, ”It is a negotiated agreement with the public sector unions in order to bridge the gap between the salaries of political office holders and career civil servants.
“For us in the NLC, it is long overdue and we support it. However, it is different from our quest for a new national minimum wage.”
The Secretary-General of the Senior Civil Servants Association of Nigeria, Mr. Solomon Onaghinon, who also confirmed the new wage, said, ”I can tell you that since 1975 -and that is about 35 years ago; that what we have now is one of the best negotiations.
“We decided not to talk about the percentage of the raise because we do not want Nigerians to suffer unduly as a result because if it is made public, prices of everything would go up. That is when you will start hearing that landlords are increasing rents indiscriminately and that cost of transportation have also go up.”
Civil servants, under the aegis of JNPSC, had embarked on a five-day warning strike on May 3, to make the Federal Government increase their salaries. They had suspended the strike the same day at the intervention the President.
Following the intervention, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, inaugurated a Joint Negotiating Committee, headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Prof. Oladipo Afolabi, to work out an acceptable new wage and submit its report within two weeks.
However, senior civil servants in Abuja have expressed mixed reactions on the new salary structure.
One of them, Mr Tony Chikelu, told the News Agency of Nigeria that he had expected something much better.
He said, “From what I saw in the circular issued by the income and wages commission, it seems that the increase is not that significant.
‘I tried to do some mathematics from the table and it will seem that in the present regime, or under the new structure, somebody on level 1 step 1 takes home is about N17,000 naira plus and somebody on 14 step 2 takes home about N101,000.”
Chikelu noted that an officer on level 17, step 1 takes about N330, 000 monthly , adding that the gap was still wide.
Alhaji Ibrahim Sabo, another civil servant, said he was very happy about the new salary structure.
“Though I have not set my eyes on the circular but I am happy that the Federal Government is keeping to its words about the increment and I can‘t wait to see what my take home will be at the end of this month,” he said.