President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law with a charge to workers to be more committed and supportive to his administration’s effort to fix the economy and build the poor infrastructure he met on ground.
“I expect them (workers) to be more committed to their work at whichever level. I will like the cooperation of the 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.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who confirmed the signing to journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the implementation takes immediate effect and it is for all workers across the federation with exception of organisations with less than 25 staff.
Enang who was all smiles and dancing while briefing newsmen said: “You can see me smiling on behalf of Nigerian workers. President Muhammadu 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.
“It also gives the workers the rights, 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 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 your wages.”
The new law also ensures and mandates National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Minister or Labour, to be the chief and principal enforcers of the provisions of this law.
Similarly, the law applies to all agencies, persons and bodies throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On when the Act comes into effect, Enang said, “the effective date is 18th of April, 2019, as Mr. President has assented to it. It has been assented to today and it takes effect today, 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.”
On what is expected of workers with the signing of the new law, the presidential aide said: “I want Nigerian workers to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari, to support this administration, support his policies and of course we will, as a government, go out and match together along with Nigerian workers on workers day.”
Asked if Buhari would join the workers on May 1st to celebrate workers day, Enang answered in the affirmative.
“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 matching as we will match with the Nigerian workers.”
Asked if the new minimum wage covers the National Youth Service Corps, he said, “It covers all persons covered by the Act.”
Senate had on March 19 passed the bill, approving N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.
The House of Representatives, had earlier passed the bill before the National Assembly shut down its operations to enable lawmakers participate in the 2019 general elections.
Workers in the Federal Capital Territory had on Tuesday begged President Buhari to sign the minimum wage bill submitted to him by the National Assembly on March 27, into law before Workers Day on May 1.