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Galloping Inflation: FG to announce salary increase for workers – Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the Federal Government will increase salaries of civil and public officials soon to mitigate the impact of high inflation rate in the country.


Ngige, who spoke with State House Correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the Presidential Committee on Salaries is already doing a review and is expected to come up with salary adjustment in the new year.


He described 2022 as a year of industrial dispute, saying he was at the seat of power to discuss issues concerning his ministry, including employment and productivity.


The minister recently suggested that the government would raise worker salaries to reflect the country’s new economic realities, accessioned by inflation.


Asked if the issue of salary increase came up during discussions with the president looking at the rising inflation, Ngige said: “Yes, that’s what I am saying that the Presidential Committee on Salaries is working hand-in-hand with the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission.


“The commission is mandated by the Act establishing it to fix salaries, wages, and emoluments. If you want their assistance and you are in the private sector, they will also assist you. They have what is called the template for remuneration, for compensation. So, if you work, you get compensated, if you don’t work, you will not be compensated.


“They have the matrix to do the evaluation, so they are working with the Presidential Committee on Salaries chaired by the finance ministry and I’m the co-chair to look at the demands of the workers. Outside this, I said discussions on that evaluation are ongoing.”


On whether a time line has been fixed for implementation of new salary increase, Ngige said: “As we enter the new year, the government will make some pronouncements in that direction.”


The minister described 2022 as a year fraught with industrial disputes, starting from the February Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU) strike, joined by other sister unions in the university system, workers in research institutes, threats from various unions, National Association of Resident Doctors which is also the Joint Health Sector Union all asking for wage increase.


Asked government’s latest position on the eight months outstanding salaries of ASUU, Ngige said the matter was now in court for proper interpretation of the Trade Dispute Act as it concerns no work, no pay policy invoked by the government during the strike.


“ASUU has not pronounced anything on their salaries anymore because it’s one of the issues that was referred to the National Industrial Court for determination, whether a worker who is on strike should be paid in violation of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act.


“So, we are asking the court to look at it. The matter is out of the hand of the executive (that’s us) and in the hand of the judiciary. ASUU has also put up a defence in court, asking the court, yes we went on strike, but we did that for a reason. So, it’s now left for the court to look at it.”


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