Minimum Wage Bill: N’Assembly Will Give Accelerated Passage, Says House Committee

Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi

The House of Representatives Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity Thursday said the National Assembly would give the minimum wage bill accelerated hearing and passage.

The Chairman of the committee, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 27, 2017, set up a 30-man National Minimum Wage Committee headed by former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms. Amal Pepple.

The committee had recommended a N30, 000 minimum wage for workers, but the governors, who argued that they were not carried along, insisted it would be impossible for them to implement it without reducing their workforce.

Onyewuchi, who represents Owerri Municipal/North/West federal constituency of Imo State, said when the minimum wage amendment bill is sent to them by President Buhari, the National Assembly would do the needful.

“For us, we have to wait here until the president sends in the amendment bill; it will go through the rudiment of law making and pass through the committees at various levels.

”We know how important it is; we know that the workers are desirous of wage increase, especially the minimum wage, which for me as a committee chairman, I consider it important,” he said.

The lawmaker said although the bill would not negate the normal legislative scrutiny, he assured Nigerians that it would be given an expeditious passage.

According to him, “For me, we want a living wage, a wage the workers can live on.

”And essentially, I am in support of it because if you look at it on the last May Day, I was the person who moved the motion on the floor of the House on this same issue of wage increase and minimum wage adjustment.

”So, I think for me, there is need to take a second look at the minimum wage, and by the time it is sent to us, we will give it an expeditious passage.”

On the December deadline given to the federal government to complete all negotiations, Onyewuchi said: “Since the constitution makes provision for amendment to the Minimum Wage Act, at the end of the day, we will find a common ground to agree on a minimum wage for the country.

“But at the moment, the issue is still with the tripartite committee. I have been briefed by the Ministry of Labour and there seems to be some levels of disagreement.

“So I do not expect that it will be a one-way thing. It is a process; the process has started.”