The Federal Government has denied signing any agreement with organised labour for a review of the National Minimum Wage every five years.
The Executive Chairman, National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Dr. Richard Egbule, said the issue of the five-year period for the review of the national minimum wage was part of recommendations made by a committee which were not included in the commission’s Act.
Egbule made this disclosure while speaking on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily.
According to him, the last review of the minimum wage was an amendment of the Act and changing of figures.
The unions had insisted, while making a proposal of N56, 000 Minimum Wage to the Federal Government, that the Act provided for a review every five years.
He added that there was even no law in the country which stipulates the review of the minimum wage every 10 years.
Egbule added, “The first time it (review of minimum wage) was done was in 1980. It was again done in 1990. It was again done in 2000 and lastly 2011. Of course, it was ready by 2010. So in between, there has been a period of 10 years for the review of the past ones although recently, in the last one, there were quite a number of recommendations.
“One of them was the issue that instead of a 10-year arrangement, it should be every five years, but that recommendation was not taken up and enacted into law.
“The only thing that was done was the issue of picking the figures and changing them. There are quite a number of very important recommendations in that report that were not taken.
“Even as I speak, the issue of reviewing it every 10 years was rather coincidental. There is no such law anywhere that guarantees that it should be done every 10 years. What the last recommendation did was to say that it was too long. The 10-year interval was too long; so, there was a recommendation that it should be five years, but the recommendation, which affected so many other things, was never enacted into law.
“So if anybody says, like labour is saying, that it is in the law, every five years, they have to do it, it is not correct. Probably, they are confusing this with a provision for a review of the pension every five years, whenever there is a review of salaries of workers. This is a separate issue; it is not about minimum wage.”