Some residents of Rivers State have expressed disappointment in the statement credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, stating that the proposed New National Minimum Wage, would not be implemented by the September deadline.
They fear that if the Federal Government goes back on its word over the September implementation date, individuals in both private and public sectors would have difficulty meeting their families needs, adding that it would also portray government in bad light.
Rivers State Chairman of Nigeria Institute of Town Planning, Tete Inamite, in his response, hinted that, it would amount to double standards on the part of government and it would be seen as not to be trusted, “not only by the workers, traders and investors too would not take the government serious.”
He added: “investors have made plans towards that September deadline, bearing in mind that the purchasing power of individuals would increase with the implementation of the new minimum wage.”
A civil servant, in the State who pleaded anonymity, stated that she was not surprised that government was tactically going back on its words, explaining that from the onset, the parameters with which the new minimum wage were to be implemented was vague.
Another respondent, who is also the new chairman of the United Creek Road Market Traders Union, Victoria Kingoli, said non-implementation of the new minimum wage would have a rippling effect, which would also affect traders.
According to her, “Civil servants are the ones that keep our markets going, when they are well paid we feel it because they increase their purchases”, and appealed to the government to reconsider their decision and ensure that the new minimum wage is implemented come September.
Recall that the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige had on May 29, 2018, announced that the September deadline was only a date for the committee to conclude negotiations and send the report to the government for deliberation and approval, after which an executive bill would now be sent before the National Assembly.
Acting chairperson, Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Rivers Chapter, Uche Agbam, in her comment stated that the position of the Labour and Employment Minister, Dr Chris Nigege is an after-thought and described it as not right.
Agbam noted that the Minister had posited that the new minimum wage could not be implemented earlier because it was not captured in the 2018 budget , but stated categorically that come September it would be implemented.
She quoted the NLC National President as saying that, it would not be condoned”, stressing that it would not be accepted and added that it further exposes The government’s insensitivity to the plight of the Nigerian workers.