NassThisWeek: Minimum wage, 2019 budget and adjournment for elections

OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Tuesday proceeded on a recess from plenary to allow members participate in the forthcoming general elections. But this was after the national minimum wage bill and the 2019 Appropriation bill scaled through third and second reading respectively.

The Senate had taken its elections break the week before. A move to convene plenary of the red chamber to discuss the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari was called at the last minute.

By and large, events at the National Assembly this week validated extensively the Legislative Intelligence Forecast (LIFE) Service provided by OrderPaperNG on Monday. Below are the highlights:

Minimum wage…
The House had a public hearing on the minimum wage (amendment) bill 2011 on Monday as part of the processes involved in the passage of the bill.
The Yusuf Lasun led ad-hoc committee which organized the hearing eventually gave adequate reasons through various presentations made by lawmakers and stakeholders on why N30,000 per month should be the minimum wage.
The presentation by the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), Ayuba Wabba and that of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, at the hearing struck the carmel’s back that even the proposal by government for N27,000 could not hold water. The hearing became an embarrassment for government representatives as they were booed and called unprintable names by workers.
Eventually the House passed the bill for third reading.
2019 budget…
Apart from the wage issue, the Reps also paid attention to the 2019 Appropriation bill by passing it for second reading. This was in spite of the fact that the bill had attracted controversies on the first day of debate when a member alleged mathematical inconsistencies in the proposal.
Politics of defection…
The dust raised regarding the passage of the minimum wage bill was yet to settle when Speaker Yakubu Dogara twisted the mood at plenary by formally announcing his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
As if that was all for the day at plenary, two lawmakers, Mr. Edward Pwajok of Pleateau State and Ahmed Yerima of Bauchi State further reduced the strength of APC in the House by defecting with the Speaker to PDP citing love for their constituencies as reasons.
While members were still basking in this euphoria, an adjournment of plenary till February 19th was then called for and it was unanimously accepted by all.

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