UPDATE: FEC okays April 18 as take-off date for new minimum wage

• Renames Communication ministry • Approves use of methanol

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved April 18, 2019, as the effective date of the new national minimum wage of N30,000.

The council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja also directed the National Wages and Salaries Commission to communicate the template of the approved consequential increases in salaries to state and local governments as advice.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, told State House correspondents that April 18, 2019, effective date conforms with the date of the signing into law of the Act.

He also revealed that FEC has directed that the payments should be made by the end of December 2019.

He explained: “Today, we sent to the Federal Executive Council our report and the reconciliation that was done last week between the organised labour and one federal government of Nigeria on the issue of the new national minimum wage which has been fixed at N30,000 a month and the consequential adjustment that were made to salaries and wage structures of the public service thereto.

“You will remember that last week when I briefed the press, I told you that the salaries and wage structure are compartmentalized into four class – health, armed forces service, research institutes and the paramilitary.

“So, they have percentage increase in their wage structure, and for emphasis the 07 compartment received 23.2 percent rise; grade level 08, 20 percent; grade level 9, 19 percent; grade level 10-14, 16 percent, and grade level 15 and 17, 14 percent in the CONPPS which is the pure civil service structure and agencies earning the same wages as those in the public service.

You have the CONRESS and CONTISS which is compartmental 2. They have 23.2 percent equivalent and 14-16, 10.5 percent; Police and other security agencies because they have had a pay rise, last year, they were consequentially adjusted to between 4 and 7 percent.

“Same goes for the paramilitary. They also have their consequential pay rise.

“So, FEC today approved for us that the financial implications worked out by the National Incomes and Wages Commission that the salaries adjustment should take effect as from April 18, 2019, the day the new national minimum wage Act came into being.

“Council also approved for us that the financial implication be worked out and the payment should be completed in or before December 2019.

“Council further directed that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation should effect all these payments before 31 December 2019.

“Council further directed also that the National Income and Wages Commission and the Ministry of Labour and Employment should send the consequential adjustment table down to the states and local government as an advisory document for their information and guidance for their national joint public service status in their respective states because the national minimum wage is a national law.”

FEC also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Communication to the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

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The Minister in charge, Dr Isa Pantami said while briefing journalists that the renaming was to give priority to the digital sector due to its immense contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Also speaking, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said FEC approved the contract for the procurement and installation of communications equipment with N1.7 billion for the ministry.

He said: We presented a memorandum for the award of contract for the procurement and installation of communications equipment and absolute control contour for control towers in Zaria and Katsina.

“The total contract sum is N1,71460,196.10 including Value Added Tax (VAT).

“The completion period is for eight months. This is to address critical safety issues in such a way that there will be better communication and efficiency in the control towers in Zaria and Katsina and this is ongoing similar to what we have done in other airports. This is to make air transposition more efficient to make sure we save time and money.”

On his part, Minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onuh said his ministry presented a memo to the FEC that requires the utilization of methanol in the economy.

He explained that the flaring of gas and accompanying environmental problems in the Niger Delta could be resolved through this initiative.

According to him, “one way to help us to completely solve this problem of gas flaring is to convert the natural gas into methane. Methanol is a liquid that is found virtually in all sector of the economy.”

He assured that methanol could be used for vehicles as it can replace diesel.

Onu explained: “Then also, methanol can be used to replace diesel in these trucks that we find in our highways because methanol is cheaper and it is environmentally friendly, so that all the problems that are associated with the use of diesel, that can be solved by the use of methanol.

“Also, our people in rural areas can use methanol for cooking so that it can replace kerosene because when you use kerosene you have soothes and it creates health problem for you. But methanol does not have that, it’s very clean, safe and cheap.

“It’s one way that we can utilize our gas in our rural areas and it’s going to help us in addressing the issues of deforestation, and today we are losing many of our forest trees because we are using them for domestic energy.

“So methanol will do this and methanol is also used for generating electricity which we can use to power our plants and many other plants that currently use diesel, methanol will be a replacement.

“This is what the Federal Executive Council has approved and once this is implemented, it will help us to create new businesses particularly micro and small businesses that have the potential to grow into bigger ones.

“It will help in the creation of jobs, and it will also help in the creation of wealth. It will be one of the things that will help us in the fight against poverty. “

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