‘Why private sector can’t pay minimum wage’




The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has explained why its members could not pay the proposed national minimum wage.

Its Director-General, Mr Olusegun Oshinowo, said at a briefing in Lagos that they could not pay because of the  recession which has effected  their members’ businesses.

He said the association  would canvass this position at the National Minimum Wage Committee meeting.

He maintained that all stakeholders should join hands with the government to ensure job security and job creation.

He  said: “There was, indeed, an understanding that the National Minimum Wage would be due for discussion after five years and the demand for pay rise by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria(TUC) was legitimate.

He, however, said there was a procedure for the discussion of the National Minimum Wage, which entailed the setting up of a National Minimum Wage Committee comprising representatives of the Federal Government, led by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, state governments, usually represented by three  governors, NECA and organised labour as represented by NLC and TUC.

He emphasised that it was the responsibility of the committee to sort out the issue of review or maintain the status quo, adding that upward review was inappropriate.

He debunked claims in some quarters that opening discussions on the  minimum wage would  translate into unsustainable wage increase.

He added: “The beauty of collective bargaining is the opportunity to come to the table with constructive positions and submissions. The principle of reasonableness and superior arguments has always carried the day. Conclusions at the platform would not necessarily be for or against increase. It would be to examine the need for or against and justifications for whatever positions are canvassed.”
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