The call for an upward review of the minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has gained the backing of the Senate.
The decision of the Senate is sequel the presentation of the bill by the Ad-hoc Committee on the National Minimum Wage headed by Edo lawmaker, Senator Francis Alimikhena.
The bill, National Minimum Wage Act CAP N61 LFN (repeal and re-enactment) Bill, 2019 (SB. 722), had passed first and second reading at the red chamber on Thursday, January 24, 2019.
The bill was then referred to the ad-hoc committee for further legislative work.
Speaking after the passage of the bill on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Senate President Bukola Saraki commended the patience of Nigerian workers and labour unions.
He expressed optimism that the increase in the minimum wage would lead to improved productivity.
His words: “Let me join our colleagues to commend the efforts of the committee. More importantly, let me commend the patience of Nigerian workers and the leadership of the Labour Union, who have over the years been calling for this minimum wage and have carried their efforts responsibly.
“I want to commend the leaders of the organisations of the union. Let me also state that as government, we should ensure that at times like these, we should not wait for there to be strikes to do what is truly deserving for our workers.
“I hope that with this minimum wage our workers will double their efforts to increase their productivity, so that we can also improve the general productivity of the country. It is my hope that the implementation of this will start immediately,” the Senate President said.
The Nigerian Government and workers fell out late 2018 following government’s failure to review the minimum wage of N18,000 — one which most workers consider inadequate given the rising inflation and Nigeria’s economic realities.
While the NLC pegged the new minimum wage at N54,000, the Government at its Council of State meeting approved N30,000 for Federal workers and N27,000 for those in states.
Labour has, however, rejected the proposal of lower minimum wage for state workers.
Meanwhile, 30 states have agreed to pay its workers the N30,000 minimum wage.