PARIS, MAY 9, 2017: (DGW) THE Federal Government has thrown in the towel amid claims Nigeria was getting out of recession that it was too broke to pay salary arrears it owes its employees, The Sun reports.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun during a meeting with the Nigerian Senate together with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.
Also present at the meeting was Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba.
Comrade Wabba cast fresh challenges on the table which range from the new minimum wage to include the task of amending existing laws as well as that of budgetary provision.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the closed door meeting along with House of Representatives’ Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, was said to have urged stakeholders to brainstorm on how to arrive at a workable solution to the problems.
Briefing newsmen immediately after the meeting, Ngige disclosed that the major obstacle was that government lacks sufficient funds to pay the arrears.
He said: “We are here to discuss issues relating to things that generate industrial disharmony in the public sector. As you are aware, the labour federations have said the governors have not been treating them well. One of the cardinal issues of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is to give our workers decent jobs and we decided to discuss with them.
“Its a tripartite negotiation. What we are doing here is tripartite plus because we have involved the National Assembly and when you do any such negotiations it is plus. We looked at the issues of salary arrears, promotion arrears, death benefits, location expenses and transfer allowances, which over time, have accumulated and had ran into billions and this is what are owed to federal public servants and we started the meeting today to find a solution.
“So we made progress today and we have adjourned to reconvene tomorrow; all sides are to go back and come back tomorrow with possible solution to the identified issues, which is that government doesn’t have enough fund for now to tackle the issues. So tomorrow, we convene here and sort it out.”
Speaking further Wabba said, “we have discussed issues bordering on arrears of allowances, which have accumulated for some time and running into billions, which they have not paid.
“Also, alongside is the issue of pension, particularly the issue of bonds, and the fact that some of the contributions by workers have not been remitted for some time.”
Those are some of the issues we thought the National Assembly has led the process to bring all stakeholders on board and look at how these issues can be resolved in a win-win situation without allowing the industrial relation process to break up.”
He hinted that the challenges facing the demand for new minimum wage included the issue of amendment to laws, and budgetary provisions.
He said, “those are the totality of issues we are working on and it is a holistic process, which you know that the processes requires laws; they also require some budgetary provisions.”