Nigeria: National Assembly Begins Debate On Minimum Wage Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President Bukola Saraki and former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the National Council of State Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
25 January 2019

The Senate and House of Representatives have started debates on the National Minimum Wage Bill.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu presided over the Senate session, while Speaker Yakubu Dogara presided over the House of Representatives.

Ekweremadu explained that contrary to reports that the Federal Government proposed N30, 000 for federal and N27, 000 for state workers, the Senate received N27, 000 as national minimum wage.

The senate urged a review and constituted a committee, chaired by Senate Chief Whip, Sola Adeyeye (APC, Osun State) with two weeks to submit its report.

Other members of the Senate Committee are: Abu Ibrahim (representing Committee on Labour), Shehu Sani (representing North West), Sam Egwu (South East), Suleiman Adokwe (North Central), Francis Alimikhena (South South), Solomon Adeola (South West) and Binta Garba Masi (North East).

Ekweremadu said the senators decided to give the bill an accelerated consideration because of its importance and urgency.

He, however, expressed misgivings with the provision in the bill, which exempted employees in outfits with less than 25 workers.

"In most other countries, minimum wage applies across board whether you are employing one person or one million people. But these are things, I believe during the public hearing that we will find a way of settling," he said.

The House of Representatives also constituted a 13- members ad hoc committee, led by the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Yussuff Lassun, to fine tune the Bill and return its report on Tuesday next week for immediate passage into law.

Other members of the House Committee include: Edward Pwajok (Plateau: PDP), Adamu Chika (Niger: APC), Aminu Suleiman (Kano: APC), Emmanuel Agbonyinma (Edo: APC), Nnenna Elendu Ukeje (Abia: PDP), and James Abiodun Faleke (Lagos: APC).

The lawmakers also summoned the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, the Governor Abdulaziz Yari-led Nigeria Governors forum (NGF), labour unions and relevant stakeholders to answer some questions.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Employers' Consultative Association (NECA) has supported the National Council of State (NCS) on its approval of N27, 000 as the new national minimum wage.

NECA, which is a member of the organised private sector, said the figures would go a long way to lighten the burden on the micro, small, and medium scale employers.

Director-General, Timothy Olawale, said yesterday that the N30, 000 wage figure hitherto demanded had been of great concern to the association.

Besides, he said it was an aberration to have two national minimum wages, and urged the National Assembly to look into the issue.

The director general stressed that what the tripartite committee on the national minimum wage had submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari upon conclusion of its assignment, was a recommendation, which ordinarily is not cast in stone, but advisory.

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