National Assembly

Minimum wage: N/Assembly proposes legislation to sanction non-compliant states

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Yemi Adaramodu (APC, Ekiti South), has disclosed that the National Assembly is proposing a legislation that would compel all the 36 states of the federation to adhere strictly to the new minimum wage figure that would be passed into law.

Senator Adaramodu stated this during an interview with newsmen in Abuja, on Friday.

Recall that there is ongoing negotiation between the federal government and the organised labour over a new minimum wage for workers.

While the federal government has proposed N62, 000 as new minimum wage, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are insisting on N250,000.

But the 36 states governors under the umbrella of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) have rejected the federal government’s proposed N62,000, saying if implemented, some states would be compelled to borrow before paying salaries.

However, Senator Adaramodu said the proposed legislation would be enacted to ensure that states which do not comply with the new figure are sanctioned accordingly.

He said, “We are going to do a watertight Bill that we are proposing that the President will sign it to ensure that it is strictly adhered to as a law.

“Once it becomes law, we are going to make it watertight, and don’t let us just speculate what is going to be the ingredient that the federal government would be putting into the bill that will be brought by the executive to be submitted to the National Assembly.

“When it comes, whatever is there and whatever is not there, we are going to ensure that it’s going to be watertight; that it’s going to be obeyed by all. And from that, again, when we are talking of minimum wage, is it about federal government alone?

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“Because it seems that it is a fight between the federal government and labour. That’s the way everybody is looking at it. So we keep mentioning the federal government, we keep mentioning the President Tinubu and labour.

“But like I said, the National Assembly is going to do this law seriously watertight that either the state or sub-national or organised private sector that does not comply, there is going to be sanction for it.

“When the executive bill comes and then we sit down in the chamber, when we are in the plenary, you know there are going to be opinions. And again we are going to invite not only legislators to talk about it, the organised labour too will contribute into making the law.

“So when that time comes, then definitely, we will all decide what’s going to be the sanction, whoever is not complying with the law because we believe that at the end of the day, the committee that is meeting over arriving at a very acceptable minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

“We believe that government is there, the organised labour itself is there, then the organised private sector is there. So definitely whatever result they come out with, when we make law with that, can anybody now come and talk with a tongue in the cheek? We don’t expect that one.”

Asked to state how fast the National Assembly would pass the minimum wage Bill if presented by President Tinubu, Senator Adaramodu said, “If it is possible within 30 minutes, we will do that. So it depend.”

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The Senate spokesman said the Bill would go through the crucibles and receive speedy passage if the federal government and the organised labour reached a consensus on the minimum wage figure.

He said, “Definitely, there is going to be an agreement. So once there is an agreement, the bill will come and I don’t think any of the components of the negotiating bodies will oppose the agreed figure at the end of the day. So we don’t have any fear about that.

“You know when you are negotiating, you negotiate from various reasons, parameters and parallels. So at the end of the day, all the lines will converge and meet at a concentric point.”

“If immediately after Sallah, the Bill is brought by Mr. President to the National Assembly, it’s going to be dealt with, with speed of lightning. Yes, we are going to pass it because it is for the benefit of Nigerian workers.”





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