OrderPaperToday – Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Labour and Senator-elect for Imo East senatorial district, Onyewuchi Ezenwa, has called on state governors to block leakages to be able to pay the newly national passed minimum wage.
The new minimum wage bill was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari last Month, an action that is generating negative reaction from several governors, who are expressing doubt over ability to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
But Ezenwa, who moved the first motion on the minimum wage in the House and chairs the Committee on Labour that conducted public hearing on the bill, said the amount is payable by all states in the country.
In an exclusive interview with OrderPaperNG, he revealed that the governors having participated in the tripartite committee that resolved on the wage, have no reason not to obey a law passe by the national assembly.
He stressed that with sincerity, governors can pay the N30,000 prescribed by the new act.
He said: “I will advise the state governors to plug all the loopholes in their system, and cut down on excesses; they will have more than enough to pay workers.
“I think it should not have come to the governors as a surprise; this matter has been on for a long time. I moved the motion on the floor of the House and the entire House supported it, adopted that motion that something has to be done to give Nigerian workers a living wage.
“Then it was 18,000 and the tripartite committee was set up, and the governors were also involved, the governors were consulted, the bill went through the whole law making process, until we came up with the 30,000.
“The government sent the proposal to us; the process was for the tripartite committee where stakeholders coming together to decide on what we think would be an appropriate minimum wage, all those were done.
“The due process followed, and at the end of the day, the 30,000 minimum wage was arrived at. The House had no reservation in passing the bill. It’s not a matter of if the state want to adopt it; it’s a law that must be obeyed; the state government must pay the minimum wage.”
He added that the provisions of the new bill are clear, stating further that the enforcement of the act is within the ambit of the executive and judiciary. “I think we have finished with that, we have passed that bill into law, it is for it to be obeyed. If it is not then the enforcement will be for the executive and judiciary to decide. But i think that any state government that is sincere will be able to pay the minimum Wage.
“Once they are sincere, they will be able to pay, although I am aware that some of the states are not viable, even at that, they should be able to pay.”