Indication emerged at the weekend that the National Assembly has set machinery in motion to substitute minimum wage with living wage, saying N18,000 (about $50) minimum wage being paid to Nigerian workers since 2010 only enhances poverty in the country.
The legislature will not only review the minimum wage but will ensure to adjust it to living wage standard in other nations.
The assurance which came from Chairmen of both chamber’s standing Committees on Labour, Employment and Productivity , Senator Suleiman Nazif and Hon Onyewuchi Ezenwa respectively was given on Friday when they had in audience , leadership of the International Labour Organization ( ILO) .
At the interactive session with the ILO offocials, Nazif and Ezenwa disclosed that as a way of providing for Nigerian workers , living wage, bill seeking for review of the Nigeria Minimum Wage Act , has already passed second reading in the House of Representatives , waiting for a public hearing to be conducted soonest where all stakeholders would make inputs .
Specifically , Hon Ezenwa in his submission on the bill said the effort of the National Assembly on the upward review of the minimum wage through amendment of tbe existing act arose out of the increased poverty level the N18, ,000 minimum wage has sunk Nigerians into .
“Though a tripartite committee has been set up by the executive for that purpose , but as representatives of the people, we are making moves ahead of what the committee will send to us .
“ The least paid Nigerian workers as far as the National Assembly is concerned, urgently deserved a living wage as against the poverty nourishing one ($50) per month , they have been collecting within the last eight years .
“ Whatever decision the House arrived at on the amendment bill would be forwarded to Senate for concurrence “, he said .
Also commenting on the planned living wage for Nigerian workers, Senator Nazif assured the ILO officials that the Senate is on the same page with the House of Representatives on required review of the minimum wage act towards providing living wage for Nigerian workers .
According to him, negotiations to that effect are already on going with relevant stakeholders aside the tripartite arrangement being carried out by the executive .
“ What we want you to take home to the International Labour Community is that before this year runs out , amount for least paid Nigerian workers on monthly basis , would be far above the current $50”, he stressed .
The ILO officials led by Sofia Amaral De- Oliveira in their remarks urged government in Nigeria at all levels , to ensure payment of living wage to workers with attendant required welfare packages in terns of robust allowances .
They urged the National Assembly to help the labour unions in the country through legislations , to get rid of casualization and other anti workers policies in the private sector .
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