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Lack of funds is no excuse for owing Nigerian workers – NLC

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PRESIDENT of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba has said that lack of funds is not an excuse for not paying workers in the country.

Wabba said this on Monday when he featured on Channels TV programme, Sunrise Daily, to discuss non-payment of workers following the commemoration of  Workers’ Day in Nigeria.

Wabba argued that political officers in Nigeria were not earning on the basis of the government’s ability to pay, saying that workers also should not be subjected to such conditions before getting their payments.

“Political officers, from the councillor to the highest office in the land, are not earning their pay on the basis of ability to pay. Yes, when it comes to workers, you will now say ability to pay,” Wabba said.

He noted that the primary purpose of any government was the security and welfare of the people, in which the welfare of workers was included.

The NLC president lamented that more than one-thirds of Nigerian states were currently not paying the N30,000 minimum wage approved by the Nigerian government in 2019.

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige had insisted that all employers in the country, including state governments, must obey the national minimum wage.

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Ngige said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, adding that governors not doing so were breaching the law.

“If you read the Act well, you will see the applicability of the Act. The applicability is that all parts of the federation (Section II); Section III also says N30,000 shall be paid, the operating word is ‘shall.’

“It does not give room for picking and choosing, it is a must. The state governors that are not paying are breaching the law of the land,” Ngige further said.

Some governors have refused to pay the national minimum wage since 2019 due to lack of funds.

A member of the House of Representatives representing Sabon Gari Federal constituency Garba Datti-Babawo has sponsored a bill to move the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.

If the bill is passed into law, state governors would be able to determine how much they would pay their workers as minimum wage.

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