The governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has announced that the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage is nearing a consensus on establishing a new national minimum wage. This announcement came after a marathon meeting that lasted over 12 hours on Friday.

Uzodimma described the meeting as highly productive, noting, “We had a very fruitful deliberation, and of course, you know it is a technical subcommittee of a committee. At the level of the committee, we have reached a near consensus. By the time we go to the plenary, we expect to have a complete agreement, and maybe from there, the media can start their job. As it stands now, I think we are in a better position than we were before.”

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He explained that the committee had just concluded their individual unit meetings and was now moving on to the plenary session. This session is critical as it is where the committee is expected to harmonize their decisions and, hopefully, finalize a new minimum wage figure.

This development follows the rejection by organized labor of the initial N60,000 minimum wage proposal, which led to a nationwide strike starting on Monday. The strike was suspended on Tuesday after the Federal Government committed to raising the minimum wage to an amount higher than N60,000, with negotiations set to resume.

The current meeting is the fifth since the suspension of the industrial action by organized labor. It is being held behind closed doors at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, with several prominent committee members in attendance. These include the Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF); the Minister of Labour and Employment (State), Nkiruka Onyejeocha; the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma; a representative of the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission; the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun; and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu.

Meanwhile, the 36 state governors comprising the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have expressed their concerns regarding the N60,000 minimum wage proposal by the Federal Government, labeling it as unsustainable. In a statement by the Acting Director of Media Affairs and Public Relations of the Forum, Mrs. Halima Ahmed, it was noted that such a proposal, if implemented, would force many states to allocate their entire monthly funds from the federation account solely to worker salaries.

The governors have appealed to the members of the tripartite committee to agree on a minimum wage that is both fair and sustainable, ensuring it does not impose undue financial strain on the states.

As the deliberations continue, all eyes are on the Tripartite Committee’s plenary session, where a final decision on the new national minimum wage is eagerly anticipated. The outcome will significantly impact workers across the nation, as well as the financial planning and budget allocations of the various states.