Lawmakers at the House of Representatives have rejected the sum of N27,000 which was approved by the council of state as the new minimum wage, insisting that they support the N30,000 agreement reached by the government, organised labour and the private sector.
The legislators during plenary on Thursday, January 24, said that the sum of N30,000 was adopted as the new minimum wage by the tripartite committee, whose report was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari, The Punch reports.
Shortly before deliberation on the bill, the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, read a letter by Buhari to the legislature, seeking an amendment to the minimum wage act 1981, to reflect a new minimum wage of N27,000.
After the letter was read, he noted that N30,000, which was proposed by the tripartite committee, and which federal government said it would pay its workers in the lower cadre, was not reflected in the letter.
The speaker then asked that the bill be gazetted and considered for second hearing same day, noting that it would be referred to an ad hoc committee.
At the second hearing of the bill, most of the legislators who took part in deliberations described the sum of N27,000 new minimum wage as insufficient for the Nigerian workers.
The deputy chief whip, Pally Iriase, in his contribution insisted that the N30,000 agreement reached by the government, organised labour and the private sector should stand.
“The Nigerian worker earns too much less. Go to the market, because of the noise of N30,000, go and price the items today. But now, it is N27,000," he said.
“This bill must be dealt with in accordance with what the tripartite committee came up with. Not even Mr President himself could deny what the tripartite committee presented.”
He said the revenue allocation formula is overdue for a review and urged his colleagues to stand up for once in defence of workers.
“Mr Speaker, N30,000 will be what this House will pass. This House should pass N30,000 instead of this rigmarole,” Iriase stated.
Similarly, other lawmakers described the proposed N27,000 as grossly inadequate bearing in mind the current economic realities in the country.
“I want to observe that no Nigerian worker earns a minimum wage. I’ve tried to compare the minimum wage here with other climes and arrived at an average of N900, assuming the worker works for eight hours. The N27,000 is grossly inadequate, a lawmaker, Oluwole Oke said.
Seconding Oke’s position, another legislator, Chika Adamu said: “This money is grossly inadequate. By the economic indices that we have on the ground, this money will have no value by the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has enjoined the National Assembly to ensure they approve N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage as agreed by Tripartite Committee, through a democratic process.
The labour union argued that the tripartite committee which was saddled with the task of providing a new National Minimum Wage for the country had concluded its assignment and recommended the amount.
Leadership reports that the union said this in a press statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday, January 23, by its national president, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the secretary general, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal.
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