The Federal Government and Organised Labour have agreed to adjourn negotiations until Thursday.

The postponement was decided to allow time for the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, to submit a critical salary template to President Bola Tinubu, which is expected today.

This strategic pause in negotiations follows a directive issued by President Tinubu on Tuesday, instructing the finance minister to outline the cost implications for a new national minimum wage within two days.

The directive came during a meeting with the government negotiation team, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Sources close to the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage revealed to Punch that both government officials and labour representatives are keen to review the financial details of the proposed wage increase before proceeding further.

This step is seen as essential for ensuring that any agreement reached is financially viable and sustainable.

A source who attended the meeting said, “The meeting has been adjourned until Thursday. We showed understanding because we all know that the president gave the minister of finance 48 hours to come up with a minimum wage. So, we decided to give them the time. We will be meeting by 2 p.m.”

A top labour official who is a labour representative on the tripartite committee explained that the template was crucial to the minimum wage negotiation.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to address the press, expressed confidence that the talks would make good progress once the presidential template was presented to the parties.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, had hinted that the President wished to know the financial implications of the new minimum wage in 48 hours.

Briefing journalists on the presidential directive, the information minister said, “We were all there to look at all issues and the President has directed the minister of finance to do the numbers and get back to him between today and tomorrow so that we can have figures ready for negotiation with labour.”

Idris assured of the president’s readiness to accept the committee’s resolutions, adding that “The president is determined to go with what the committee has said and he’s also looking at the welfare of Nigerians.

Government is not against or opponent of labour discussions; the government is not an opponent of wage increase, but what is there is that government is always there to ensure a balance between what government pronouncement is and what the realities are on the ground.

“And therefore, we will work assiduously to ensure that whatever promises the government makes are promises that will be kept. That is the idea of this meeting.”

Furthermore, he said Tinubu directed the government representatives to work collectively with the organised private sector and the sub-nationals to achieve a new affordable wage award for Nigerians.

Idris explained, “The President has given a marching order that all those who have negotiated on behalf of the Federal Government and all those who are representatives of organised private sectors, the sub-nationals to come together to have a new wage that is affordable, sustainable and realistic for Nigerians.

The wage is not just that of the Federal Government; as I mentioned earlier, the sub-nationals are involved, the organised private sector is involved; the Labour stepped out during that procedure. Now we have come back to the negotiation table.”

The minister assured that all hands would be on deck to present a new minimum wage for Nigerians in one week.

All of us will work together assiduously within the next week to ensure that we have a new wage for Nigeria that is acceptable, sustainable and realistic,” Idris said.

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