Nigeria: Nass fast tracks minimum wage bill, passes second reading at senate
Adetokunbo Fakeye with agency report
London, Jan. 24, 2019 (AltAfrica)-In less than 48 hours after receiving minimum wage bill from the executive, Nigerian legislators are determined to give the bill accelerated passage to douse tension among workers and the organised labour
Consequently, the Nigerian Senate on Thursday passed the N27,000 National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill through the crucial second reading.
The lawmakers, according to Channels TV report, passed the bill during plenary following the suspension of the Senate rules.
The bill was put through first and second reading simultaneously.
During the debate, as reported, the lawmakers supported the bill and were confident that it would improve the standard of living for workers in the country.
They called on the state governments to look inwards on how to actualize the new minimum wage by cutting frivolous expenses and improving revenue generation.
The deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary disclosed that contrary to reports, the minimum wage proposal sent to the National Assembly was N27,000 for both Federal and state workers.
Senator Ekweremadu, however, faulted the part of the proposal which exempted organisations which employ less than 25 people from paying the new minimum wage.
He decried that the exemption would exclude many low-income earners who work in small organisations from benefiting from the new minimum wage.
Ekweremadu said, “If this does not affect these people, it means a whole number of people are left outside the minimum wage and that is not right.
“In most countries, the minimum wage applies to all workers, regardless of the number of people in an establishment.”
However, Senator Ekweremadu was hopeful that the issue of those left out of the minimum wage would be addressed by an ad-hoc committee chaired by Senator Olusola Adeyeye.
Others in the committee are senators Abu Ibrahim, Shehu Sani, Sam Egwu, Suleiman Adokwe, Francis Alimikhena, and Binta Garba. The committee was asked to report to the Senate within two weeks.
Earlier, Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan moved for expeditious passage of the bill because of its importance. He asked the Senate to suspend its rules and pass the bill through first and second reading immediately.
Senator Lawan said, “Let me congratulate the Federal Government, the 36 states of Nigeria and stakeholders on this Bill for the increase of the minimum wage from N18,000 to N27,000.
“Our Civil Servants will be excited about this. It may not be all they hoped, but it is still an improved situation. Nigeria cannot develop without the help of our civil servants.”
The Senate agreed to his request and the minimum wage bill was debated in the chamber.