By Eric James Ochigbo
The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Labour and Employment to commence the process of negotiating an upward review of the current minimum wage.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the call was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Peter Akpatason (Edo-APC), during plenary on Thursday.
Akpatason, in the motion, urged the Federal Government to hearken to calls for a review of the national minimum wage figure to avert the looming nationwide strike action threatened by workers.
“The Minimum Wage Act of 2011 set the lowest payable salary at ₦18,000, but the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the National Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Federal Government have agreed to set up a joint review team to study and recommend an appropriate rate.
“Labour unions have submitted names of their nominees and have made several requests for commencement of the review process, but government is yet to respond positively to the requests,” he said.
Akpatason, while noting that payments of outstanding debts to contractors and arrears of salaries and pensions to workers had contributed to the reflation of the economy, said that an upward adjustment of the minimum wage would have similar positive effect on the economy.
The law maker told his colleagues that a combination of high inflation rates and the weak exchange value of the Naira had eroded the purchasing power of fixed income earners in the country.
“Such fixed income earners are the bread winners to millions of jobless Nigerians and the aged.
“A nationwide strike action embarked upon by workers at this time is capable of rolling back recent economic gains.
“Such strike could return the nation’s fragile economy into recession that will further exacerbate the suffering of the masses,” he explained.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to ensure implementation of the directive. (NAN)