The issue concerning the increment of the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers reached a new high when the Council of state decided in late January that the federal government and state workers would be paying its workers N27,000 as new minimum wage.
It got a twist when the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, informed newsmen after the decision was made at the Council of State meeting that the federal government would still pay its workers the specified N30,000.
However, when President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded the proposed New National Minimum Wage of N27,000 to the National Assembly, it generated enough controversies over the non-clarification of the new minimum wage for state and federal workers.
It would be recalled that the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, read the letter from Buhari on the floor of the Senate on 24 th January, 2019.
After the reading, the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan (Yobe, APC), cites Order 79 and requests that the Order be suspended, stating that the Minimum Wage Bill should be taken for first and second reading today and referred to the relevant Committee due to the importance of this Bill.
The order cited by Lawan was seconded by the Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti, PDP) and the National Minimum Wage Bill, 2019 was read for the First Time on the floor of the house.
Then, the debate in the house began as regards the bill as Senators put in their opinion on the new minimum wage.
Lawan was quoted saying: “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.”
Senator Shehu Sani (Kaduna, PRP) also said: “It is important that we lend our voice to see to the realization of this Bill. Even though this may not be enough, productivity is sure to increase.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Senate President (DSP), Ike Ekweremadu, demanded for clarifications as the Minimum Wage bill sent to the house by President Muhammadu Buhari, did not specify a separate minimum wage for federal workers in the bill forwarded to the house.
Ekweremadu, subsequently named the Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, as the chairman of an eight-member ad-hoc committee mandated to work on the bill and make their report available within two weeks.
Other members of the panel are, Senator Abu Ibrahim, who will represent the Senate committee on labour; Senator Shehu Sani, representing the North-West and Senator Sam Egwu, representing the South-East.
The rest are, Senators Suleiman Adokwe (North-Central); Francis Alimikhena (South-South); Solomon Adeola (South-West); and Binta Garba (North-East).
However, Sen. Adeyeye bowed out of his duty as the Chairman of the committee on condition of health issues before the senate went on recess for the 2019 general election, hence, a replacement was not named in his stead not until on Tuesday when Senate President Bukola Saraki appointed Senate Deputy Majority Whip, Sen. Francis Alimikhena, who is also a member of the committee, as acting chairman of the ad-hoc Committee on Minimum Wage.
Saraki charged the committee to expedite action on the matter to enable the Senate catch up with the House of Representatives which had already passed the bill.
Meanwhile, in a recent update after the committee met yesterday, it was disclosed that the Senate has approved thirty thousand Naira (N30,000) as the new national minimum wage.
The lawmakers also approved Seventy-five thousand naira(N75,000) as penalty for non-compliance.
According to Senator Shehu Sani, who is a member of the committee, this agreement was reached by the Senate Committee on New Minimum Wage yesterday.
In a tweet shared yesterday, the lawmaker said, “The Senate Committee on New National Minimum wage met yesterday and approved the new national minimum wage bill; 30k as minimum wage and 75k as penalty for non-compliance.”
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