PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian workers to justify the new N30,000 ($62) national minimum wage by showing more commitments to their work after he signed a new bill into law increasing it from N18,000 a month.
Over recent months, the government and the trade unions have been negotiating a minimum wage and the two sides have agreed to increase the amount to N30,000 from the current N18,000 a month. After months of intense negotiations, President Buhari promised to implement the new national minimum wage after accepting the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage.
Earlier this year, the senate passed a bill approving the new minimum wage and this week, President Buhari signed it into law. Shortly after signing the national minimum wage bill into law in Abuja yesterday, President Buhari enjoined the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to show more understanding of the current socio-economic situations in country.
He added: “I expect the workers to be more committed to their work at whichever level. I will like the NLC to look at the economic situation of the country, the population, the poor infrastructure that we are trying to fix in terms of roads, rail and power.
Senator Ita Enang, President Buhari’s senior special assistant on National Assembly matters, added that the implementation of the new wage would take effect as from April 18. He added that the bill now makes it mandatory for employers of labour in both public and private organisations to pay N30,000 as the minimum wage.
He said: “You can see me smiling on behalf of Nigerian workers. President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Minimum Wage Repel and Enactment Act, 2019, which makes it compulsory for all employers of labour in Nigeria to pay to their workers the sum of N30,000.
“This excludes persons who are employing less than 25 workers, persons who work in a ship which sails out of jurisdiction and other persons who are in other kinds of regulated employment which are accepted by the act. It also gives workers the right, if you are compelled by any circumstance to accept salary that is less than N30,000, to sue your employer to recover the balance.”
According to the presidential aide, the bill ensures and mandates the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the minister or labour, to be the chief and principal enforcers of the provisions of this law. In addition, Senator Enang enjoined Nigerian workers to continue to support the president and his administration’s policies in return for the gesture.
“It also authorises the minister of labour and any person nominated by the minister or any person designated by the minister of labour in any ministry, department or agency to on your behalf, take action in your name against such employer to recover the balance of your wages. This law applies to all agencies, persons and bodies throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Senator Enang added.