Ndubuisi Orji , Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed into law the Minimum Wage Amendment Bill, which pegs the new minimum wage for workers in the country at N30,000.
This followed the adoption of the report of the ad-hoc committee on the minimum wage, headed by the deputy speaker, Yussuff Lasun.
The Federal Government had proposed N27,000 as minimum wage for workers in the public and private sectors.
However, after its public hearing, on Monday, the Ad-hoc committee recommended that the new minimum wage should be N30,000.
According to the new law, any employer who fails to pay the new minimum wage shall, on conviction, be liable to “a fine not exceeding five percent of the offender’s minimum wage and pay all outstanding arrears of the workers wages.”
The offender shall also “pay an additional penalty of not less than the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) lending rate on the wages owed for each month of the continuing violation…”
Regardless, this shall not apply to employers with less than 25 workers, employers whose workers are employed on part-time basis and employers who pay their workers based on commission.
Similarly, the new minimum wage does not apply to “workers in seasonal employment, such as agriculture; and any person employed in a vessel or aircraft, to which the law regulating merchant shipping or civil aviation apply.”
In a related development, the 2019 Appropriation Bill scaled through second reading at the House, at yesterday’s plenary, after which the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, referred the budget to the House Committee on Appropriations, with all standing committees of the House as sub- committees.
The House had suspended debate on the general principles of the bill, pending the outcome of a meeting of officials of the Ministries of Finance and Budget and National Planning, which it directed to reconcile discrepancies in the budget estimates.
When the appropriation bill was called up for debate at yesterday’s plenary, the speaker said since it was “sufficiently” debated last week, there would be no need for further debate on it.
Thereafter, the house resolved that the bill should be read a second time. It was, however, not clear, at the time of filing this report, if the discrepancies have been reconciled.
Also, at yesterday’s plenary, Dogara formally announced his defection from the All Progressives Congress ( APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP).
Dogara, had last September dumped the ruling APC for the opposition party.