By Danladi Al-Hassan
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the national minimum wage bill into law as passed by the National Assembly.
Both chambers approved N30,000 as the new national minimum monthly wage as against the N27,000 approved by the National Council of State and recommended by the President in his letter on the bill to the National Assembly. The federal government said it would increase it to N30,000 for its workers.
On Tuesday, workers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) begged Buhari to sign the minimum wage bill into law before May 1.
The council had approved N27,000 while The tripartite committee earlier set up by the Federal Government had approved N30,000 for both federal and state workers.
Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), said with the signing of the bill to law by the President, it has become compulsory for all employers of labour in Nigeria to pay their workers N30,000.
However, Enang pointed out that employers who are employing less than 25 workers; persons who work in a ship which sail out of jurisdiction; and persons who are in other kinds of regulated employments are excepted by the Act.
“It also gives the workers the right if you are compelled by any circumstance to accept salary that is less than 30,000 for you to sue your employers to recover the balance,” he said.
“It authorises the Minister of Labour and any person nominated by the 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 wages.
“It also ensures and mandates the National Salaries, Incomes 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 and persons and bodies throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The effective date is April 18, 2019 as Mr President has assented to; it has been assented to and it takes effect today except such other provision as are contained in the Act.”
Enang said the enforcement and the right to start the implementation of the provisions commenced immediately including such steps that would to be taken gradually under the provisions of the Act.
He urged Nigerian workers to celebrate Buhari and support his administration and policies.
The presidential aide said the administration would come out and march together with Nigerian workers and Workers Day.
“Mr President will celebrate Workers Day and this government will celebrate. This is Mr President action showing the love he has for Nigerian workers,’’ he said.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had led the campaign for an upward review of minimum wage from N18,000.