The 8th Nigerian Senate has passed the first and second reading of the National Minimum Wage Bill 2019, assigning it to a special Ad-hoc committee chaired by Senate Majority Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, ahead of its third reading.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu noted that due to the importance of the National Minimum Wage it was the first time that the 8th Senate was suspending its rules to take first and second reading of an executive bill.
“Let me congratulate the NLC and all those who have brought this to this point. I would also like to thank my distinguished colleagues for the speedy consideration of this bill.
“This will be the first time the 8th Senate is reading an executive communication and suspending our rules to take a first and second reading and assigning the bill to a committee, all in one day. This shows how committed we are to this issue.
“I believe what we have been saying so far will suffice in guiding the committee. Just to clarify, the new minimum wage brought to us is set at N27,000. There were news reports of N27,000 for states and N5000 for the Federal Government, but this is a single national minimum wage of N27,000. Another issue of concern is whether this affects organisations and establishments employing less than 25 persons.
“If this does not affect these people, it means a whole number of people are left outside the minimum wage and that is not right. In most countries, the minimum wage applies to all workers, regardless of the number of people in an establishment. I believe that at the public hearing, we will be able to clarify and sort it all out. We must try our best to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.”
Members of the Ad-hoc committee include Senator Abu Ibrahim, Senator Shehu Sani, Senator Sam Egwu, Senator Suleiman Adokwe, Senator Francis Alimikhena and Senator Binta Garba. Senators were picked to represent each geopolitical zone. The Committee is to report back to the Senate within two weeks.
Senators who spoke on the importance of the bill include Ahmed Lawan, Barnabas Gemade, Biodun Olujimi and Shehu Sani
Speaking Senator Sani said “It is important that we lend our voice to see to the realization of this Bill. Even though this may not be enough, productivity is sure to increase”.
“Senator Olujimi added that “We will work hard, but it is important that this does not become another election gimmick. Let the people who should get paid, actually get paid”.