To tackle the continuous increase of the prices of consumer goods, the Federal Government has said it will soon announce salary increments for civil servants and public officials.
It was also revealed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, that a Presidential Committee on Salaries is currently reviewing salaries with a plan to announce its decision in early 2023.
He disclosed this to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with the President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Ngige had earlier suggested that the Federal Government would review salaries of civil servants upwards to cushion the effect of inflation that was currently rocking the country.
While taking questions on the issue, he 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 them to fix salaries, wages, and emoluments in not only the public service.
“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.
“So they have the matrix to do the evaluation, so they are working with the Presidential Committee on Salaries chaired by the finance minister and I’m the co-chair to look at the demands of the workers. Outside this, I said discussions on that evaluation are ongoing.”
Ngige went on to talk about a workable timeframe for the implementation of salaries under review and he said, “As we enter the New Year, the government will make some pronouncements in that direction.”
He also said that he had used the opportunity at the State House to brief the President on the activities of his ministry for the year 2022.
He said, “Majorly, I came to brief Mr President. You know the year is coming to an end and we have to look at 2022 exhaustively. Part of my ministry has to do with labour issues. First and foremost, we look at the employment situation in the country and what we have achieved and what we have not achieved. We also had a briefing on productivity viz-a-viz the various industrial disputes we had in 2022.”
Citing the ASUU strike, industrial action by sister unions, and strikes by medical practitioners earlier in the year, he described 2022 as “a year of industrial dispute.”
He noted that the private sector managed their affairs better.
“They could do collective bargaining very easily with their workers. The banking sector, food and beverage, and finance, insurance, everywhere. So, there is calm there. We didn’t have the desired calmness on the government’s side because of the government’s finances.
“However, I’ve briefed him, we are doing some review within the Presidential Committee on Salaries, and discussions are ongoing. The doctors are discussing with the Ministry of Health, insurance people in the public sector discussing and there is a general calmness.
“Hopefully, within available resources, the government can do something in the coming year,” he explained.