OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has said the N30, 000 minimum wage is too small for Nigerian workers due to the current economic downturn in the country.

Dogara said this on Monday in an address to declare open a public hearing on the national minimum wage (amendment) bill conducted by the Ad-Hoc Committee chaired by Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yusuf Lasun.

The committee was set up by the House during Plenary on Thursday, 24th January, 2019 after the bill speedily went through first and second reading.

The Speaker also told the gathering that the bill is very crucial and dear to the hearts of members hence the lawmakers had to postpone a scheduled break in order to work on the bill.

According to him, “there are obvious reasons why the House has to give accelerated consideration to this very crucial bill.  It is a bill that is long overdue, as the current National Minimum Wage, which was fixed in 2011, has become unrealistic due to supervening developments in the nation.

“As most of us here must be aware, the National Assembly will need to go on a short recess for the purpose of the General Elections, which is less than three weeks from now.  We must, therefore, conclude this Public Hearing as quickly as possible today to enable the House proceed with further legislative actions on it at its plenary tomorrow as already resolved in our last sitting.”

He continued: “More importantly, the consideration and passage of this bill is equally exigent because our country is at the brink of a national industrial crisis that we can least afford at this time.  Passions are extremely high within the entire Organised Labour on this issue.  Even before the consideration of the Bill by Parliament, the Labour leaders have rejected the 27,000 Naira recommended to us by the Executive Arm as National Minimum Wage.

“At the slightest opportunity, the entire workforce in the country could be called out by Labour leaders to resume the strike action that was recently put on hold without any further notice.  The effect that such scenario can have on the ongoing electioneering process is better imagined than experienced.  There is no doubt, therefore, that the entire nation is awaiting and looking up to the National Assembly to do the needful with the promptitude it deserves.

“In view of the foregoing, the House is approaching this exercise with a very high sense of duty, responsibility and loyalty to our nation. Let me assure the Nigerian workers, that the National Assembly is aware of  and shares in your pains, patience and sacrifices as regards the issue of the National Minimum Wage.  Majority of our Members are on your side as you can judge from their contributions to the debate on the bill on the floor of the House last Thursday.  Armed with these sentiments and taking into cognizance the decision of the tripartite committee that provided the initial ingredients for this Bill, we should have no difficulty taking a decision that is in the best interest of our workers and the nation.”

Read the full address by the speaker here


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