President of United Labour Congress (ULC), Mr. Joe Ajaero, has said any increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) to pay the N30,000 new minimum wage would not be accepted except it is discussed with stakeholders in the Labour market.
Ajaero disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos, yesterday, in reaction to the Federal Government’s indication that it might increase VAT to enable it pay the minimum wage.
The National Assembly had, on Tuesday, passed N30, 000 as the new minimum wage for workers; two months after the House of Representatives also approved the same.
Elsewhere, on the same day and before the Senate Committee on Finance, Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said VAT could be raised to up to 50 per cent before the end of 2019; to enable government fund the new wage scheme.
VAT is currently being charged at five per cent.
However, Ajaero said there was no condition attached to the increase in salaries for workers during the tripartite negotiation and that if the government is contemplating increase in VAT, to fund the new minimum wage, that move should be discussed with stakeholders.
“There was no condition attached during minimum wage negotiation. If there will be increase in VAT, all stakeholders will look at it and take a decision,’’ the labour leader said.
He commended the Senate for quick approval, but said President Muhammadu Buhari should not delay in signing the bill for it to be implemented.
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has commended the Senate for endorsing the N30, 000 monthly National Minimum Wage as recommended by the Tripartite Committee.
Mr. Bobboi Bala Kaigama, in a statement, said the new wage would in no small measure give the workers a sense of belonging.
Also, civil servants in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, lauded the Senate for approving N30,000 as the new minimum wage.
Mr. Moses Oga, a civil servant praised Senate for taking the bold step after several negotiations between labour and the federal government.
He said the new development was good for Nigerians workers, adding that it would enhance economic development in the country.
Mr. David Samuel, a staff of the Ministry of Information and Culture, said the issue of minimum wage was long overdue, but it was better late than never.
He added that the implementation of the bill would reduce the suffering of civil servants across the country.
To Amos Thomas, a civil servant with the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, civil servants deserved more than the minimum wage, but the N30,000 was a way to begin.
Another civil servant with the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Ruth Dada, said resolution on the N30,000 minimum wage would go a long way in boosting the living standard of Nigerians.
Dada, however, urged civil servants to reciprocate the good gesture through hard work and improved productivity.
A civil servant with the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Sarah Usman, said the new minimum wage would help boost the nation’s economy. Usman noted that the development would boost the production of goods and services as well as increase employment for the teeming youths.
Last year, the National Council of State suggested N27,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers, but the federal government agreed to pay federal civil servants N30,000 monthly.