April 19, 2019

Buhari signs N30,000 Minimum Wage Bill into law

President Muhammadu Buhari

Says he expects more commitment from workers
Law goes into immediate effect
Labour, NECA laud President

By Victor Young & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, signed the Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-enactment Bill, 2019, into law, saying implementation takes immediate effect.

The National Assembly had on March 27 transmitted the bill to the President for assent.

Briefing State House correspondents, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said: “You can see me smiling on behalf of Nigerian workers. President Buhari has assented to the Minimum Wage Repeal and Enactment Act 2019. This makes it compulsory for all employers of labour in Nigeria to pay to their workers the sum of N30,000.

“And 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.


Muhammadu Buhari

“It also gives the 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 and authorises the minister of labour and any person nominated by Minister of Labour, 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.

“It also ensures and mandates National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Minister of Labour, to be the chief and principal enforcers of the provisions of this law. And this law applies to all agencies, persons and bodies throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The effective date is April 18, 2019, as the president has assented to. It has been assented to today (yesterday) and it takes effect today (yesterday), except such other provisions as are contained in the Act.

“But the enforcement and the right to start the implementation of the provisions commences today (Thursday), including such steps that are to be taken gradually under the provisions of the Act.”

What is expected  of workers

On what is expected of the workers, the presidential aide said: “I want Nigerian workers to celebrate President Buhari, to support this administration, support its  policies and of course, we will as a government go out and march together along with Nigerian workers on Workers Day.

“Mr. President will celebrate with workers and the Federal Government will celebrate. This is Mr. President showing workers the love he has for them and we are marching as we will march with the Nigerian workers.”

Buhari tasks workers

Meanwhile, President Buhari has urged workers to show more commitments in their duties.

Speaking after signing the N30,000 new minimum wage, the President said: “I expect them (workers) to be more committed to their work at which ever level. I will like with the cooperation of Nigeria Labour Congress, 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. So I wish Nigerian workers the best of luck.”

Labour, NECA react

Reacting, President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Bobboi Kaigama, said: “We appreciate Buhari for the signing. We also congratulate the Nigerian workers for their resilience, perseverance and achievement of the N30,000 minimum wage.

“However, we plead with the Federal Government to hasten the negotiations and release of template for implementation as well as release circular to the states for implementation.”

Similarly, NLC’s Head of Information Department, Mr. Bension Opia, said NLC commended Buhari for his assent, adding:“We are delighted by the President’s accent. We commend him for his accent.”

On its part, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, commended Buhari for his assent.

Speaking, Director-General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, said: “Organised businesses wish to commend the President for promptly attending to the National Minimum Wage Bill as sent to him by the National Assembly.

“It is an indication of the passion and concern of the President for the welfare of the masses and working class in particular. We believe that the implementation date will be the date of assent.”

“The National Minimum Wage is not a general salary increase but a wage below which no employer should pay. As such, employers who are already paying above N30,000 are not obligated to comply. In the same vein, we expect other social partners to also respect this understanding, so as not to jeopardize the industrial harmony in the Private Sector by insisting on implementation by organizations already paying above N30,000. We reiterate the commitment of employers in the private sector to the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage. Employers should note the date of implementation and seek further clarification, when in doubt.”