Nigeria’s National Assembly has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for a rise in the country’s minimum wage to 83 dollars for public sector employees, higher than the executive’s earlier request of 75 dollars. They currently earn 50 dollars or 18,000 naira.
The minimum wage bill had been sent to the parliament in January after negotiations peaked between labour unions and the Nigerian government in December.
The House of Representatives had accelerated its parliamentary procedures and passed the bill on January 29 but the Senate did not attend to the matter until Tuesday when it dusted and passed the executive request.
“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,” Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate said after passing the labour bill.
The passage of the bill followed the adoption of a report by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the National Minimum Wage Act presented by Senator Francis Alimikhena which set the new minimum wage at 83 dollars or N30,000 naira; eight dollars higher than the 75 dollars request sent to parliament by President Buhari, as sanctioned by the country’s major advisory body, the National Council of State.
“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,” Saraki also said.
The House of Representatives had approved same amount with its Senate counterpart in January.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara had said, “we passed the new national minimum wage bill 2019 in keeping with our commitment to improve the welfare of the Nigerian worker. The Bill was given speedy and accelerated passage in just two legislative days as a House of the Nigerian people.”
A major provision of the bill is that any employer who fails to comply shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five per cent of the offenders’ monthly wage. However, the bill does not cover private sector employers whose staff strength is below 25.
With the passage by both houses of the National Assembly, a harmonised copy is to be sent to the executive for final assent by President Muhammadu Buhari before the new minimum wage can take effect.