Barely two weeks after the Senate set up an eight-member Ad-hoc Committee for further legislative inputs into the N27,000 New Minimum Wage Bill sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari for approval on January 24, 2019, LEADERSHIP Sunday can authoritatively confirm that the committee is yet to sit over the matter.
This is against the backdrop that a similar committee set up the same day in the House of Representatives with the same mandate has held a number of public hearings on the bill, during which it recommended N30,000 as minimum wage.
LEADERSHIP Sunday findings indicate that the Senate ad-hoc committee has not had a sitting due to the political engagements of six of the eight members and the general lackadaisical attitude of the senators towards their legislative duties as the 8th National Assembly winds down.
The chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Senator Olusola Adeyeye (APC, Osun Central) confirmed this last week to newsmen when he said that since six out of the eight-member committee are contesting in the National Assembly election fixed for February 16, 2019.
Senator Adeyeye, who is also the Senate’s Chief Whip, lamented the development, saying it had been difficult to mobilise the six senators for the required public hearing session on the bill.
He said: “I am not contesting any election but many of the committee members are contesting and very busy with electioneering in their various senatorial districts, making it difficult for us to sit all this while.
“But we shall try all we can to have the sitting or public hearing before the Senate reconvenes in line with the duration of time given for the assignment by the Senate.”
The Senate had, in mandating the committee for the assignment, given it two weeks to submit its report which must be ready before Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the day fixed for its resumption from the ongoing recess.
But since the election is just a week now and the planned meeting for next week will be few days to the elections, the affected six members of the committee may not be disposed to such an arrangement.
Members of the committee who are busy with their re-election bids to the Senate are Emmanuel Adokwe (PDP, Nasarawa South), Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi North), Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central), Deputy Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo North), Adeola Olamilekan (APC, Lagos West) and Binta Masi Garba (APC, Adamawa North).
The last member of the committee, Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina South ), is also not contesting in any of the elections.
Labour Calls for Speedy Passage
Meanwhile, the president, United Labour Congress (ULC), Comrade Joe Ajaero has commended the leadership of the House of Representatives over the speedy passage of the minimum wage bill, saying that as far as welfare is concerned, the position of the lawmakers has in no small measure given workers a sense of belonging.
Ajaero made this comment while speaking with LEADERSHIP Sunday in a telephone conversation in Lagos.
He said, “We recall that the lawmakers gave their word to speedily facilitate the National Minimum Wage Bill whenever it was brought before them and they have kept their word.
“To us, it means we still have men and women with the milk of human kindness. While we thank you for the brave move, we also urge you to follow the bill through until the Senate and the Federal Government give a go-ahead to effect payment.”
He said that this position of N30, 000 can be achieved if the governors have the people at heart.
On the part of the Senate, he urged the senators to emulate the lower house as soon as they reconvene after the election.
“ We believe this is a political period that lawmakers need to attend to their electioneering activities but as soon as the election is over, they should please give it a speedy action,”, he added.
He explained that the president should not delay the signing into law after it must have been passed by the National Assembly..
“I believe the president is seriously awaiting the bill on his table for signing,” he said.
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