Reps move to institutionalise periodic review of minimum wage

The territory's minimum wage will rise from $8.35 per hour to 9.50 per hour on Thursday.

Following the overwhelming support for the bill, Speaker Yakubu Dogara referred the bill to the House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity for further legislative action.

While most coverage of this bill will likely focus on whether $15 by 2024 is too ambitious a target (as Jared Bernstein and I explained in the Prospect last month, it's not), there's a less-discussed aspect of the bill that deserves considerable attention as well: its elimination of "sub-minimum" wages for various groups of workers.

The All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Lagos State told his colleagues that aside ensuring that workers were paid a living wage, the bill would address the frequent protests over poor wages and the unwillingness of employers, particularly the government, to raise wages.

Ontario will join Alberta as the only other province to pass a $15 per hour minimum wage, which was passed in September of 2016 and will be phased in by October of 2018. It took many years for government and labour to agree on what we have as a minimum wage of N18,000 today. Under the plan, workers 18 and older would see the wage jump in increments until 2022.

The majority leader observed that though the 1999 Constitution (as amended), made a provision for the review of pension every five years, it was silent on the review of wages.

"Section 2 of the Principal Act is hereby amended by inserting immediately after sub-section 2 a new sub-section 3 to read as follows: "The Minister may by order published in the Federal Gazette review the minimum wage any time before 5 years from the day of last review in the event of some supervening circumstances in the interest of the national economy and Nigerian workers".

He added, "That is why this new law is important".

Hon. Gbajabiamila equally maintained that, several countries in the world like United Kingdom, Canada among others have in their law to review salaries of workers.

He said, "This bill is talking about certainty in wage reviews".

  • Leroy Wright