The House of Representatives on Thursday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige to commence forthwith the process of negotiating an upward review of the current minimum wage rate.
The House equally mandated the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to ensure implementation.
The House resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Peter Akpatason entitled, “need to hearken to calls for the review of the National Minimum Wage figures to avert the looming Nationwide strike action”.
While moving his motion, the lawmaker said that “Minimum Wage Act of 2011 set the lowest payable salary to a worker in Nigeria at ₦18,000.00”.
He also explained that, the tripartite agreement between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the National Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Federal Government to set up a joint review team to study and recommend an appropriate rate to the Government.
To this end, he said that despite the Labour Unions having submitted names of their nominees and making several requests for the commencement of the review process, the Government has yet to respond positively to the requests.
Speaking further, that “payments of outstanding debts to contractors and arrears of salaries and pensions to workers contributed to the reflation of the economy, and in turn partly contributed to the eventual exit of the economy from recession, and as such, an upward adjustment of the rate of the minimum wage will have similar positive effect on the nation’s economy.
” A combination of high inflation and weak Naira exchange value have eroded the purchasing power of fixed income earners in the country who happen to be the breadwinners to millions of jobless and aged dependents.
“Any nationwide strike action embarked upon by workers at this time is capable of rolling back recent economic gains, thereby returning the nation’s fragile economy into a recession that will further exacerbate the suffering of the masses”, he stated.
Most of the lawmakers spoke in support of the motion, and when the motion was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara it was supported by a majority of lawmakers.