A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Garba Muhammad, has written to the Nigeria Labour Congress asking organised labour to wait for the public hearing on his bill seeking to decentralise the national minimum wage.
Our correspondent obtained a copy of the letter on Saturday night in response to a letter by the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba.
Members of the House were on February 23, 2021, sharply divided over a bill seeking to allow states to individually determine the minimum wage suitable for them.
Presently, Federal Government maintains the exclusive powers to negotiate and determine the national minimum wage for workers across the three tiers of government in Nigeria.
The bill seeking an amendment to the 1999 Constitution by removing matters relating to wages from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List narrowly passed second reading due to the division among the lawmakers on the proposal.
The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to, among others, transfer the subject matter of Minimum Wage Prescription from the Exclusive Legislative List set out under Part I of the Second Schedule to the Concurrent Legislative List set out under Part II of the Second Schedule to the Constitution; and for related matters.’
Muhammad, in a letter dated March 4, 2021, titled, ‘Re: Minimum Wage on the Concurrent List,’ said the House would avail the union an opportunity to convey its position on the bill.
The letter read in part, “I noted your dismay at Page 2 of your letter that ‘the national minimum wage could be discussed by the House without invitation to or input by organised labour…’ and wish to state that this is a misperception of the procedures of the House, but also to allay your fears about any legislative process on minimum wage proceeding without the very active involvement of organised labour.
“We may have differences of opinion in the pursuit of this patriotic calling but our passionate objective is one – to arrive at what is ultimately the best for our nation.”