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National Assembly seeks to pass New Minimum Wage Bill

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The National Assembly has promised to pass a new National Minimum Wage Bill once the Federal Government Committee on Minimum Wage concludes its public hearings in the six geo-political zones. This came after the Nigeria Labour Congress proposed a N65, 000 minimum wage to apply to workers across the country.


The agitation for a minimum wage in Nigeria is not new and dates back to the setting up of the Hunts Commission in 1934[1]. However, the first Minimum Wage Act, which was enacted in 1981, prescribed a minimum wage of N125[2]. The last review of the minimum wage in 2011 increased the minimum wage to N18, 000. Nonetheless, with current inflation level, it has been argued that the real value of the present minimum wage has been seriously eroded and that the amount is insufficient for an individual let alone an adult family man or woman with dependants.


In the House of Representatives, there are two bills that seek to amend the National Minimum Wage Act. The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Bill, (HB 281) 2015, sponsored by Hon. Peter Akpatason (APC:Edo) for instance seeks to amend the Principal Act by seeking to protect workers with disabilities by deleting a provision that enables employers pay persons with disabilities less than the minimum wage. Under the Bill, Persons or body of persons found to have contravened provisions of the Bill (when it becomes law) shall also be subjected to the prosecution by the Attorney General of the Federation upon referral by an authorized officer. It also seeks to decrease the number of establishments that will be exempt from paying the national minimum wage from those with less than with 50 workers to those with less than 20 workers. It also seeks to remove establishments with foreign participation from being exempted from paying the minimum wage. The second Bill is sponsored by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC:Lagos) and seeks to subject the National Minimum Wage to review every six years. However, while the House of Representatives have passed the first Bill, the second Bill (HB 1028) is still at Committee stage.


If the review of the minimum wage is to be realised in the 8th Assembly, it may mean that the Senate will have to concur with the House Bill, as there is no similar bill in its chamber. There must also be deep economic reflection on the cost implications of the Bill as many States are currently struggling to pay the current minimum wage of N18,000 and have sought bailouts from the Federal Government severally after defaulting to pay workers salaries.



1 Battle for New Minimum Wage

2 Battle for New Minimum Wage