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National Assembly to get minimum wage bill before January 23, says Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will submit the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly before January 23, 2019.

Ngige explained that Federal Government would go through all statutory procedures of the Federal Executive Council, National Economic Council and the National Council of State meetings before the bill will go to the lawmakers for legislative processes.

He said: “As for the transmission of the executive bill to the National Assembly, the government will religiously implement all the processes that will enable us transmit this bill within the stipulated time. We have a target time of January 23, 2018 and we hope that all things being equal, government will be able to do so. I thank the labour unions for their understanding and appeal to them that the threats should come down. Protests are no longer necessary.”

The announcement of the submission of the bill was not enough to stop labour from prosecuting its one-day rallies and protests across the country.

Senator Shehu Sani, Representing Kaduna Central joining the walk, expressed his support for the struggle for the new national minimum wage for workers in the country.

In his response to the transmission of the bill to the National Assembly, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said although his team will take the promise made by government to their members for further deliberations, the organised labour will not hesitate to call a nationwide strike to ensure the National Assembly gets the bill before the general elections staled for next month.

Wabba, who led the protest, called on the President to immediately transmit the bill to the National Assembly for legislative action.

The NLC Chief stated that the protest rally served as a warning to the Federal Government before a nationwide strike is declared if government continue to delay the transmission of the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly.

“Today in every government house in Nigeria protest is being organised to remind our political leaders across the country of our dissatisfaction with the non-transmission of the bill to the National Assembly. We want to say that workers are very central to economic development and very central to the prosperity of any country and therefore we cannot be described as the tiny minority.

“Workers are very productive, we build the Nigerian economy; we fight for democracy, rule of law and good governance and there is no way we can be described as tiny minority because we services the entire country.

“So workers must be able to take care of their family, send their children to school, but today workers are not able to feed three times a day or send their children to school.

“Because minimum wage of N18, 000 is no longer able to sustain workers and therefore no longer realistic,”he said.

Wabba declared that the working people would not accept any figure that is lower than the agreed N30, 000.

While submitting its letter of protest to the Minister of FCTA, Bello Mohammed, Wabba said: “We are here to submit our letter of protest and demand like our states councils are doing in their various states right now, to the FCTA minister for onward transmission to Mr President.

“We want to call on Mr President for the onward transmission of the bill to the National Assembly as the protest rally served as a warning before a nationwide strike, ” he said.

Also Mr Amechi Asugwah, President Construction, Wood Workers Union of Nigeria, decried attitude of government towards the implementation of the national minimum wage.

“I want to say that workers have waited more than enough, and we are running out of patience, and as a matter of fact we do not need to serve another notice before embarking on a nationwide strike.

“We have decided to take strong action to drive the issue of the minimum wage as it concerns workers in the country, “he added.

In response, Mr Lazarus Gaza, Head of Human Resources in the FCTA, who received the protest letter from the NLC President, assured labour that the letter would be delivered accordingly.



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