The Federal Government’s plan to oversee the implementation of the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act has been criticized by organized labor for being introduced too late in the game.
The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), an agency of the federal government, said that it will start tracking the National Minimum Wage Act 2019’s implementation across the country on January 23, 2023.
The exercise, which comes one year before the next minimum wage review mandated by the Act, aims to determine the extent of compliance by public and private employers/organizations that are responsible under the Act for the payment of the monthly minimum wage of N30,000 and to make sure that employers maintain adequate records of employee wages and working conditions.
The monitoring effort, according to Mr. Tommy Okon, National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), is merely a political ploy.
According to him, “Sometimes it baffles us as organised labour when the government comes out with some policies and at the same time embrace the somersault of their policy with gladness. How can you now monitor the implementation of a minimum wage that is almost five years gone?.
“When we were crying that some state governors are not responding to the minimum wage payment, nothing was done, is it now that they are almost leaving office that you want to go and monitor, what are you monitoring? All these are political gimmicks, they cannot fool us.”
He stated that at this time, what is expected of the government is an increase in worker pay to reflect the current socio-economic reality.
The exercise will also inform public and private employers/organizations about the financial benefits of adhering to the payment of the National Minimum Wage, according to a statement from the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Emmanuel Njoku. It will also help in obtaining baseline data on remuneration policies and practices of private sector organizations in order to enrich the Commission’s data collection efforts.
“The exercise will also enable the Commission to obtain information that will aid the process of the next National Minimum Wage review which will be due in 2024, as stipulated by the 2019 Act,” the statement read.