Nigeria’s highest advisory body, the National Council of State (NCS), Thursday endorsed the N18,000 (about US$ 120) minimum wage, urging
President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately forward it to the National Assembly f o r enactment.
Until the Constitution is amended, the minimum wage approved by the Council is b inding on all tiers of governments and corporate bodies.
The NCS is an advisory body, comprising of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the 36 state governors, for m er presidents and heads of states, Chief Justice of the Federation, the Attorney
General and Minister of Justice.
The Council also commended the presentation of the Chairman of the Independent N ational Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Atahiru Jega, saying it was capable o f giving Nigeria a generally acceptable free and fair elections but pressed for t h e inclusion of Electoral Offences Tribunal to punish rigging.
In attendance were former Presidents – Alhaji Shehu Shaghari and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and former Heads of State, Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Ernest Shonekan.
The Council noted that in ratifying the minimum wage, it also looked at the issu e of the dwindling fortune of workers and the need to address the problems of wo r kers in the country.
Governors Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom) and Ikedi Ohakim (Imo) told journalists at the end
of the meeting that the Council however, advised Jonathan to take cognisance of t he federal structure of the country for a clause to be inserted into the Minimum
wage Act that will give room for states to negotiate how much they could afford t o pay.
According to Goje, the new wage will be binding on all states and the private se ctor concerns that employ over 50 workers.
But he added that “some states are richer than others. While some can pay, other s may not be able to pay. And taking into consideration that we are a federation , we can negotiate. But as at now, the minimum wage is N18,000.”
He, however, canvassed for the deregulation of the fixing of wages, so that stat es can negotiate and fix the wages they can afford to pay.