Implication of the Signing of the New Minimum Wage

It is no longer news that President Muhammodu Buhari has signed the new minimum wage bill into law.

The bill, which has now become a law, will usher in a new pay structure for Nigerian workers.

The National Assembly had passed the bill approving thirty thousand naira as the minimum wage for workers.

State governors had opposed the thirty thousand naira minimum wage with many of them saying they will be unable to pay their workers the new minimum wage.

According to the president’s aide on National Assembly matters, Ita Enang, the signing of the bill into law makes it compulsory for all employers of labour in the country to pay their workers the sum of thirty thousand naira.

The presidential aide, however, said employers with less than twenty-five workers are excluded from paying the new wage.

President Buhari had on November last year set up a tripartite committee to fashion out an acceptable minimum wage by stakeholders.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, had earlier proposed sixty-five thousand naira minimum wage before thirty thousand naira was agreed on by the tripartite committee set up by the government.

With the signing of the bill, there will be a boost in the productivity of the workers as obtainable in developed countries where workers earn good wages.

This will in turn improve the economy of the country as workers will perform at their optimal level if they are well motivated and remunerated.

The minimum wage increase coming at a time the Workers Day is being celebrated leaves much to be desired.

Worker’s day celebration began as a result of the 1886 industrial revolution in Chicago, United States, where workers laid down their lives to defend the rights of the working people.

Two hundred thousand American workers left their work and demanded for eight hours of work per day, which resulted into police and legal harassment.

This prevented the workers for many years from repeating the demonstration.

In Nigeria, Worker’s Day was first declared a holiday by Kano State in 1980 and later became a national holiday on the first of May, 1981.

As workers celebrate this year’s May Day, government and other employers of labour must focus on ways of improving the standard of living of workers which include upward review of minimum wage as at when due, prompt payment of salaries and allowances, regular payment of gratuities and monthly pensions to retirees.

It is imperative that government at all levels create a conducive environment for businesses that pay taxes, and employ labour that will also pay taxes so as to generate income to pay the increased wage.

As the saying goes, to whom much is given much is expected, workers should be more dedicated to their duties and shun vices that are detrimental to national development.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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