The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have backed Nigerian workers’ demand for an upward review of the monthly National Minimum Wage.
This was as the organised labour called for an upward review of the national minimum wage that would reflect the current economic realities, stressing that this will help raise the levels of productivity and enhance the purchasing power of workers.
Speaking Tuesday on the occasion of the 2018 National May Day Celebration at Eagle Square, Abuja, President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the current demand by workers for “N66,500 as the national minimum wage will only manage to meet the basic needs of the average Nigerian worker if inflation is kept at a single digit”.
“We have also proposed that the Minimum Wage Act should be amended to guarantee review every five years. This was the recommendation of the 2011 Belgore-led Tripartite Committee. We have also proposed that the minimum wage law should apply to all workers and not restricted only to establishments with 50 workers and above. We have also demanded that there should be a minimum pension for our retired workers and senior citizens who currently in some cases are receiving N2,000 as a monthly pension,” he added.
Meanwhile, speaking in his goodwill message to the Nigerian workers on the occasion of the International Workers’ Day, 2018, Ekweremadu said: “I salute the Nigerian workers for their immense sacrifice, labour, resilience, and patriotism, which have kept Nigeria going. They have also not relented even in the face of untold challenges and hardship.
“However, we must take the necessary steps to lighten their burdens, especially in the face of excruciating economic realities and in line with the anti-corruption crusade.”
On his part, Speaker Dogara re-echoed the determination of the lower chamber to provide a better life for workers by passing a bill for an upward review of minimum wage, which is yet to be forwarded to the National Assembly by the executive.
He said he is not unmindful of the struggles and hardship endured by Nigerian workers in their daily lives, which is why parliament is committed to putting more resources in their hands.
The Speaker, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Hassan Turaki, to mark the 2018 Workers’ Day celebration, expressed optimism that the federal government’s Committee on Minimum Wage which is currently conducting public hearings across the six geo-political zones in the country will soon conclude its assignment and a new national minimum wage bill will be transmitted to the parliament by the president.
He said, “On behalf of the entire members of the House of Representatives, I want to use this occasion to, once again, underscore the importance of workers to the growth and prosperity of our dear nation, Nigeria.
“We see the struggles you go through to survive on wages that can barely last through the first week of the month. We see your dedication to doing your bit in ensuring that Nigeria continues to run effectively in spite of unfavourable conditions.”
According to Dogara, “We commend your courage, your commitment to service and nation building and urge you to continue supporting government policies and agenda.
“I assure you, on this occasion, that the National Assembly will give expeditious passage to the Minimum Wage Bill whenever it is transmitted by the executive and any other initiative that will promote the welfare of the Nigerian worker. We will support it wholeheartedly.”