….Says minimum wage of $50 per month is poverty nourishing
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – NATIONAL Assembly has assured Nigerian workers of plans to review upward the present N18,000 ( $50) minimum wage which the least paid workers have been collecting as monthly salary since July 2010.
The assurance was given by the Chairmen of both chamber’s standing Committees on Labour, Employment and Productivity , Senator Suleiman Nazif and Hon Onyewuchi Ezenwa respectively during an audience with the Leadership of the International Labour Organization ( ILO) .
At the interactive session with the ILO officials, Nazif and Ezenwa disclosed that as a way of providing for Nigerian workers , living wage, bill seeking for review of the Nigeria Minimum Wage Act , has already passed second reading in the House of Representatives , waiting for a public hearing to be conducted soonest where all stakeholders would make inputs .
Hon Ezenwa in his submission on the bill said the effort of the National Assembly on the upward review of the minimum wage through amendment of the existing act arose out of the increased poverty level the N18, ,000 minimum wage has sunk Nigerians into .
He said, “Though a tripartite committee has been set up by the executive for that purpose , but as representatives of the people, we are making moves ahead of what the committee will send to us .
” The least paid Nigerian workers as far as the National Assembly is concerned, urgently deserved a living wage as against the poverty nourishing one ($50) per month , they have been collecting within the last eight years
” Whatever decision the House arrived at on the amendment bill would be forwarded to Senate for concurrence.
Also commenting on the planned living wage for Nigerian workers, Senator Nazif assured the ILO officials that the Senate is on the same page with the House of Representatives on required review of the minimum wage act towards providing living wage for Nigerian workers .
According to him, negotiations to that effect are already on going with relevant stakeholders aside the tripartite arrangement being carried out by the executive .
“What we want you to take home to the International Labour Community is that before this year runs out , amount for least paid Nigerian workers on monthly basis , would be far above the current $50”, he stressed
The ILO officials led by Sofia Amaral De- Oliveira in their remarks urged government in Nigeria at all levels , to ensure payment of living wage to workers with attendant required welfare packages in terns of robust allowances .
They urged the National Assembly to help all labour unions in the country through legislations , to get rid of casualization and other anti workers policies in the private sector .