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National Assembly Recommends Seizing Allocations of States, LGs Over Minimum Wage Default



President Tinubu (left) with Senate President Akpabio

The National Assembly has vowed to take drastic measures to ensure compliance with the new minimum wage, including potentially seizing allocations of defaulting states and local governments.

This move comes as the Federal Government and labour unions continue to negotiate a new minimum wage, with labour demanding N250,000 and the government offering N62,000.

According to Senate spokesperson Yemi Adaramodu, the National Assembly will include a clause in the new minimum wage bill that provides clear sanctions for defaulters.

While he did not specify the exact sanctions, he hinted that they would be “watertight” and enforced strictly. Adaramodu also emphasized that the bill would apply to all employers, including states, local governments, and the Organised Private Sector.

The National Assembly’s move is seen as a response to concerns that some states and local governments may not comply with the new minimum wage. Currently, some states still pay the old minimum wage of N18,000, while others pay the current N30,000.

Labour unions have expressed frustration with the government’s offer, labelling it a “starvation wage.”

The Federal Government has argued that the N250,000 minimum wage proposed by labour could destabilize the economy and lead to mass layoffs.

However, labour unions maintain that the current wage is inadequate, given the high cost of living in the country.

The National Assembly’s decision to include sanctions in the minimum wage bill has been welcomed by labour unions. Hakeem Ambali, National Treasurer of the Nigerian Labour Congress, called for strong sanctions to deter defaulters, noting that the political will to enforce compliance is crucial.

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However, the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, argued that the National Assembly should focus on building an enabling system and environment that makes compliance easier for states and local governments, rather than imposing sanctions.

The minimum wage bill is expected to be passed quickly once it is received from President Bola Tinubu, with the National Assembly aiming to avoid unnecessary delays. The bill will go through all necessary stages, including public hearings, to ensure that Nigerian workers receive a fair wage package.

In related news, former Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has called for decentralised minimum wage negotiations, allowing states to conduct their own wage negotiations with labour unions separate from the Federal Government. This, he believes, would allow for more realistic and flexible negotiations, given the varying resources and circumstances of different states.

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